Alan Dershowitz Torches the ACLU for Partisanship

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 4:30 PM

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz torched the American Civil Liberties Union in a new op-ed for The Hill on Tuesday. For Dershowitz, a liberal lawyer who served on ACLU's national board early in his career, it pains him to see how the organization has become a bastion of partisan politics.

"The ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties," he writes. "It has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group."

In his op-ed, entitled, "The final nail in the ACLU's coffin," Dershowitz regrets how the group has officially strayed from its original commitment to nonpartisanship. This year, the organization has become much more involved in politics. “The ACLU is getting involved in elections — and reinventing itself for the Trump era,” the New Yorker observed last week. 

Case in point: The ACLU inserted itself into the sheriff's election of Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this year, airing ads and funneling money to help Garry McFadden beat the Republican incumbent Irwin Carmichael. What happened to simply litigating?

Dershowitz recalled the ACLU's glory days, when it was committed to defending core civil liberties and was made up of Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. After all, freedom of speech is for everyone. How times have changed.

Today, the ACLU wears only one shoe, and it is on its left foot. Its color is blue. The only dispute is whether it supports the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or its more centrist wing. There is little doubt that most board members today support the progressive wing, though some think that even that wing is not sufficiently left. There is no longer any room in the ACLU for true conservatives who are deeply committed to neutral civil liberties. The litmus test is support for hard-left policies.

The ACLU proved Dershowitz right again this week by awarding outgoing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards a lifetime achievement award.