The American Civil Liberties Union, perhaps better known as the ACLU, has long billed itself as a non-partisan organization that protects the civil rights and liberty of all Americans. In the past, they emphasized that their advocacy extended to all Americans and to all civil rights – including, controversially, defending the Free Speech rights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
More recently, though, they have been criticized for only promoting seemingly left-wing agendas. While many left-leaning voters disagree, their case is undermined by the ACLU's stance when it comes to Title IX law, where a progressive agenda for stopping sexual harassment meets due process rights head-on.
The ACLU: Defenders of All Forms of Everyone's Liberties
Over the course of its existence, the ACLU has prided itself as an organization that advocated for fundamental civil rights, rather than any particular political party or politician. It would defend your civil rights, no matter who you were and no matter what right it was.
The perfect encapsulation of the ACLU's dedication to civil liberty in America was in how it handled the KKK over time. Time and time again, the ACLU would defend minorities who were singled out under racist Jim Crow Laws in southern states, only to turn around and defend the right of the KKK to protest and exercise their First Amendment rights.
However, that dedication to civil rights, everywhere, for everyone, seems to have eroded in favor of a more progressive and political agenda. Perhaps most interestingly, in the wake of the White Nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, the ACLU pivoted away from protecting Free Speech rights when protesters were also exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Why Isn't the ACLU All for Due Process Rights of the Accused in Title IX?
While less publicized, the ACLU's evolving stance on Title IX and how it can infringe on an accused student's due process rights – an extremely important civil right that is mentioned in not one, but two amendments to the U.S. Constitution – betrays that movement towards a progressive political agenda.
Current Title IX law is the brainchild of the progressive Obama era. The fallout of Title IX law has been an erosion of the due process rights of accused students.
One would think that the ACLU would be outspoken advocates for the rollback of the Title IX regulations that infringed on those civil rights.
That has not been the case. When the new Title IX regulations were proposed – the ones that would protect accused students' due process rights – the ACLU issued a letter that stressed its commitment to stopping sex-based discrimination in higher education. Due process was important, too, but came in a stark second place.
While the ACLU subsequently revised its stance on the proposed amendments to Title IX law to take a more nuanced approach, their knee-jerk reaction betrays that they have become far more political than they used to be.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer who always advocates for the rights of students, faculty, and staff who have been accused of sexual misconduct in higher education. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.