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American Civil Liberties Union

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is an American non-governmental organization devoted to defending civil rights and liberties. Lawsuits brought by the ACLU have been central to several important developments in U.S. constitutional law. The ACLU provides lawyers and legal expertise in cases where it believes that Civil Rights are being violated.

The ACLU was formed in 1920 as the Civil Liberties Bureau, during the time of the Palmer Raids. Founders include Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin[?].


Some groups criticize the ACLU for its opposition to requiring prayers in public schools, display of religious symbols on public property, its support of abortion, support of the rights of homosexuals, and the defense of freedom of speech for persons with unpopular or controversial opinions.

The ACLU has defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazi groups and NAMBLA (a pro-pedophilia group).

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