February 26, 2014
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia and the Kendall Law Group, cooperating attorneys for the ACLU of Georgia, have filed a lawsuit challenging the unlawful termination of Johnny Cook. Mr. Cook was fired for expressing concerns on his personal Facebook profile that a child was left hungry and denied lunch at school. He joined a national debate focused on the well-being of children and adequacy of school lunch policies. When Mr. Cook refused to allow his voice, thoughts, property, and image to be hijacked, commandeered, censored, and illegally appropriated by the Haralson County school system, he was fired.
February 25, 2014
Georgia is the latest state to consider legislation that could sanction discrimination in the name of religious freedom.
There are two versions of the Georgia bill – a state House version, HB 1023, and a state Senate version, SB 377. Both would affirm the “right to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a sincerely held religious tenet or belief whether or not the exercise is compulsory or a central part or requirement of the person’s religious tenets or beliefs.” Where those beliefs conflict with local, state or federal law, the government would have to prove that the law is meant to pursue a “a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
February 24, 2014
Which of these groups does not belong with the others: the ACLU, the tea party, Common Cause or Americans for Prosperity?
If you think they could all fit in a coalition under the Gold Dome, give yourself a peach-colored star.
This era is known for its polarization in Washington, and Georgians on the left and the right certainly have their differences about how state legislators should address certain issues. But unlike in national politics, diverse coalitions still can and do emerge on high-profile state issues.
The ACLU and Common Cause have reputations as liberal groups, particularly nationally; the tea party and Americans for Prosperity lean solidly to the right. But representatives of those four outfits, along with the libertarian Institute for Justice, are pushing legislators to change Georgia’s civil asset forfeiture laws -- which allow law enforcement to confiscate private property without a criminal conviction, or in many cases even a criminal charge.
February 22, 2014
January 28, 2014
January 22nd marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed reproductive freedom for all women and enhanced the privacy protections of all Americans. While it is unfortunate that reproductive freedom is still under attack 40 years later, we would like you to know that the ACLU and the ACLU of Georgia remain vigilant in our support of reproductive freedom and respect for the personal autonomy of all women.
In 2012, the ACLU of Georgia and the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia, seeking to prevent the State from implementing a 20-week abortion ban. In December 2012, the Fulton County Superior Court issued an injunction against the law as it applies to pre-viable abortion care and the injunction remains in effect today. By bringing this suit, we prevented this anti-choice law from infringing upon the rights that Georgia women are guaranteed underRoeand we are confident that the Georgia courts will find this law unconstitutional.
January 15, 2014
Georgia public policy players are watching Florida closely now that a federal judge there has struck down the state’s law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.
A U.S. District judge ruled the Florida law violates the Constitutional provision against unreasonable searches. Georgia has had a similar law on the books since 2012, but it has not yet been implemented.
Chad Brock, an attorney with the ACLU of Georgia, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the State of Florida appeals the ruling to the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “However, the Eleventh Circuit, back in February, in extending the injunction against the drug testing law, really scrutinized the reasoning behind the law,” said Brock. “So I think they’re going to have a tough time if they go back before the Eleventh Circuit.”
January 15, 2014
The tide appears to be turning in Georgia with regard to the issue of medical cannabis, or marijuana, after two leading Republican lawmakers in the State Legislature expressed their openness to the idea of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in Georgia.
As first reported by WSB-TV Channel 2, on January 07, 2014, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) called for hearings on medical marijuana; then, on January 09, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) told Channel 2 he would be open to the idea.
"I have some concerns about it quite frankly but I think, let's take the politics out of it, and look at the science and hear the medical professionals,” Ralston said.
December 20, 2013
In light of the inaction of the federal government and for-profit prison corporations in the face of documented human rights violations, the ACLU of Georgia sent letters to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur on the Rights of People Deprived of Liberty and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, requesting a meeting to discuss immigration detention conditions in Georgia.
December 18, 2013
Today marks International Migrants Day, a day to be commemorated and celebrated by all in support of immigrants and their contributions to our communities. December 18th marks the date in 1990 that the UN adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The Migrant Workers Convention guarantees migrant workers and their families fundamental rights including equality before the law regardless of a migrant's legal status.
The promise of dignified treatment remains far from being fulfilled for many immigrants in the US, however.
December 17, 2013
A South Georgia lawmaker will propose next month a bill that would allow the construction of a monument outside the Georgia Capitol featuring the 10 Commandments.
Vidalia Republican Rep. Greg Morris wants the monument to be built where the statue of former Sen. Tom Watson used to be.