For ACLU, getting Trump trumps civil liberties

 

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By Alan Dershowitz, opinion contributor for The Hill

4/12/2018

The American Civil Liberties Union, on whose national board I used to serve with pride, raises vast sums of money claiming to defend the civil liberties of all Americans. Unfortunately, however, over the last several years it has turned from being a neutral civil liberties organization to a left wing, agenda-driven group that protects its contributors and constituents while ignoring the civil liberties of Americans with whom it disagrees.

Sure, it occasionally defends a Nazi or a Klansman as an easy, pretend show of its willingness to protect the free speech of the most despicable racists. But it has been scandalously silent when it comes to the real current threats to civil liberties and free speech, especially on university campuses where the hard left demands suspension of free speech and due process rights for those with whom it disagrees.

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Now, since the election of President Trump, it has sunk to a new low, becoming a cheerleader for the violation of the civil liberties of those on the other side of the political spectrum. Consider the recent raid on the law office and hotel room of Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. In that raid, it appears as if FBI agents may well have seized material protected by the lawyer-client privilege, including communications between President Trump and his attorney. On the day of the raid, I said that if a similar raid had been conducted on Hillary Clinton, had she been elected and a special prosecutor appointed to investigate her emails, the ACLU would have been up in arms. I condemned its doubled-standard silence.

When I said that, I couldn’t possibly imagine that the ACLU would actually go out of its way to justify and defend the raid, even before all the facts were known. But that is exactly what it has done. David Cole, who identifies himself as the ACLU legal director, said the organization relies on the good faith of the Justice Department, the FBI and the judge who issued the warrant to assure all Americans that this raid on a lawyer’s office is a “sign that the rule of law is alive.”

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