The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver and others in 1920. It is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. It handles nearly 6,000 court cases annually from offices in almost every state. The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency.
The mission of the ACLU is to preserve these protections and guarantees:
- First Amendment rights — freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
- Right to equal protection under the law — equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
- Right to due process — fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of liberty or property is at stake.
- Right to privacy — freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into personal and private affairs.