The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been around for 97 years. When the organization was founded in 1920, it was at a time when violated civil liberties weren’t as pervasive as they are in the 21st century.
The ACLU is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance for cases that rise to the level of civil liberties being at risk, or has already been violated. An ACLU case is generally supported with legal representation from the nearly 300 staff attorneys throughout the country within their law practicing jurisdiction, as well as thousands of attorneys who volunteer. Additionally, attorney’s will assist with the preparation of legal briefs, otherwise known as an amicus curiae brief, when a public law firm is already providing representation to a client.
The ACLU has a growing membership which has expanded to 1.2 million citizens. The non-profit organization operates on an estimated annual budget of over $300 million. There are local affiliates in nearly all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The ACLU actually consists of two entities.
The American Civil Liberties Union operates as a social welfare group and through its ACLU Foundation operates as a public charity. The distinctions are relevant when it pertains to political lobbying, which are prohibited through a social welfare group. Read more: Jim | Twitter
In a landmark case involving immigration, the Arizona ACLU affiliate filed a lawsuit pertaining to the SB 1070 which was signed by then Governor Jan Brewer. The lawsuit challenged the constitutional authority of the law and charged that it constituted racial profiling. After seven years of being continually struck down, the U.S. Supreme Court required provisions be made to the law.
The decision resulted in several changes being made with how law enforcement interacts with citizens whom they deem are immigrants, and their legal authority to ask for documentation.
The Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund is a local Arizona non-profit organization that supports the actions taken by the ACLU. The organization provides charitable efforts through grass roots efforts which promote human rights, immigration rights and freedom of speech.
Co-Founders Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin began the organization after their landmark case in 2007 in which their First Amendment Rights were violated. After a U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin determined it was necessary to build a fund to provide the Arizona citizens the resources they needed to prevail against injustices.
Both Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin, were honored by the ACLU Foundation of Arizona with the organizations highest honor; the Civilian Libertarian of the Year Award. They were honored for the work completed through the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund in the year; however, they both have contributed to civil liberties for the over three decades through their publishing careers.
The ACLU SB 1070 case was widespread throughout Arizona and continues to affect the community after years of litigation. The ACLU has continued its expanded focus on the issues revolving around SB 1070. The organization has continued its efforts in bringing awareness to the community with their compelling actions to end what they see as discrimination.
Learn more about Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-lacey-5b0159145/