The ACLU Shadow

The ACLU Shadow
By Joseph Klein | November 7, 2006

The  has established a Human Rights Program which, in its own words, “works to ensure that the U.S. government complies with universal human rights principles in addition to the
U.S. Constitution.
On November 1, 2006, this ACLU Human Rights Program filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asking it to “find the
United States in violation of its universal human rights obligations by failing to protect millions of undocumented workers from exploitation and discrimination in the workplace
.”  This action is only the latest in the ACLU’s self-proclaimed strategy to use the United Nations and other global governance forums to “complement existing ACLU advocacy on national security, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights and racial justice.”

Apparently, the ACLU’s leaders do not believe that our Founding Fathers really intended the Constitution that they wrote for us to be “the supreme Law of the Land”, even though that is exactly what the Constitution says that it is.[1]   The U.S. Supreme Court has unfortunately given the ACLU some ammunition in recent decisions that have utilized so-called international norms as a basis for their interpretations of Constitutional provisions.  In June 2006, the Court inexplicably applied the benefits of civilian protection under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to suspected terrorists, including al-Qaeda, when it invalidated the special military tribunals set up by the Bush Administration to try enemy combatants held at

Bay (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (No 05-184 June 29, 2006). 


The ACLU and other U.S.-based human rights organizations have taken the Supreme Court’s willingness to incorporate some international law into its Constitutional decisions as a license to look for any opportunity to apply so-called international human rights standards against whatever they – in their infinite wisdom – perceive to be violations of social, economic, civil or political rights in the
United States.


On June 20, 2006, the ACLU Human Rights Program submitted a 116 page “shadow report” to the United Nations Human Rights Committee that was investigating the human rights record of the
United States.  The ACLU shadow report, entitled “Dimming the Beacon of Freedom: U.S. Violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, was a wholesale indictment of the United States’ human rights record in the broad areas of national security, immigrants’ rights, racial justice, women’s rights and religious freedom.   It sought to hold the
U.S. government accountable for what the ACLU alleged to be flagrant and repeated violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which they equate to an international “Bill of Rights.”


The ACLU’s purpose was to get the United Nations’ human rights “experts” on the Committee to declare that our duly elected government officials are violating some vaguely worded “international norms” in dealing with immigration, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, juvenile justice, the death penalty, prison conditions within the United States, the treatment of enemy combatant detainees, electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists’ communications and so on.  As the ACLU’s Associate Legal Director, Ann Beeson, had once put it, “We are appealing to the international arbiters to hold the
U.S. accountable to basic human rights standards.”  (emphasis added)  With such a declaration from a recognized international body in hand, the ACLU litigators believe that they will be in a better position to seek judicial relief for their clients from sympathetic judges.


Barely paying any attention to what the
U.S. government had to say and without a shred of independently conducted research, the UN Human Rights Committee basically adopted the ACLU’s accusations as fact.


There are even a couple of instances where it lifted material right out of the ACLU’s shadow report without any critical analysis at all.  For example, the phrase “militarization of the southwest border” in the UN Human Rights Committee report is a close paraphrase of “militarization of the border” appearing on p. 60 of the ACLU shadow report.  The UN body’s reference to five million citizens who they claim are barred from voting due to felony convictions is amazingly close to the “5.3 million” number appearing on p. 96 of the ACLU’s shadow report. 


The ACLU then added insult to injury when its spokeswoman turned around and threw the parroted findings of the UN Human Rights Committee “experts” back at the U.S government, as if it were the work of an independent credible fact-finding body:


United States should be ashamed of its dismal human rights record.
America must act now to remedy these ongoing human rights abuses…”

The ACLU Human Rights Program has kept after the U.S., while remaining silent about the world’s most flagrant human rights abusers like Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia – the latter three acting like the foxes guarding the henhouse as members of the new UN Human Rights Council that oversees the UN’s human rights activities.  The ACLU’s defense is that they are trying to restore
America’s position as a “beacon of freedom throughout the world” so that it can lead by example.  But blinded by its disdain of traditional American values and impatient with working through our democratic institutions, the ACLU would rather appeal to a global body that includes authoritarian regimes.  On their very best day, these hypocritical judges of our human rights record would not come anywhere close to the
United States on its very worst day in terms of freedom, humaneness, and inclusiveness.  Yet the ACLU has encouraged them to rule against us on a whole range of human rights issues and thereby has handed our enemies fodder for their malicious propaganda.

For example, within a week of the ACLU’s submission of its shadow report, Iran’s news agency was bragging how the United Nations was planning to act against the
United States:

Minister of Justice Jamal Karimi-Rad said on Monday that the Human Rights Council launched in Geneva last week to replace UN human rights commission empowered the member states to take action with the UN about human rights violations in the
United States… He said that the Human Rights Council was a very good venue for explaining Iranian achievements in the field of restoring human and legal rights of Iranian nation.
(Islamic Republic News Agency, June 26, 2006)

In September 2006, the ACLU Human Rights Program filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asking for a ruling that
New Jersey was violating “universal human rights principles” by denying convicted felons the right to vote.  The ACLU had already litigated the issue in the
New Jersey courts and lost.   So again they are reaching for extra-judicial relief outside our country’s democratic institutions and laws, hoping that they can obtain a favorable ruling that they then can return with to our federal courts for a more sympathetic hearing.


In its November 2006 petition that it filed on alleged human rights abuses by the
United States against “undocumented” immigrant workers (i.e., illegal aliens) with the same Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the ACLU Human Rights Program is seeking to obtain their ruling that the withholding from illegal aliens of legislatively prescribed benefits intended for legally employed persons such as workers’ compensation constitutes a violation of some vague “universal human right” belonging to the illegal aliens.  If successful, no doubt the ACLU will then try to convince some gullible federal judge to incorporate such a ruling in his or her “interpretation” of our Constitution and override the public policy decisions of our democratically elected federal and state representatives. 


The ACLU has long been famous for advocating extremist positions under the guise of protecting Constitutional rights.  It is an organization made up of idiot-savants who use their knowledge of Constitutional law, for example, to protect every imagined right of terrorist suspects without a thought of the right of innocent people to be protected by their government against mass slaughter.  According to the ACLU, a suspected foreign terrorist detainee should have the right to all the due process protections afforded in a regular criminal trial, and suspected foreign terrorists should be granted the right to privacy of their communications with their co-conspirators located in the United States whether or not they may be in the midst of planning to attack our country.   In the ACLU’s fevered imagination, these supposed rights would trump the Constitutional obligation of the
United States government to protect the people against “Invasion”.


On the domestic front, the ACLU has fought for the decriminalization of drugs such as heroin and cocaine, while fighting against laws to protect children from sex offenders.   The ACLU is all for free speech and rights of association unless it happens to be speech or association that, in their view, violates the “human rights” of some offended minority.   They oppose government-sponsored displays of Judeo-Christian religious symbols on public property and the teaching of the Ten Commandments in our public schools, but support the display and teaching of the UN-sponsored nature-worshipping Earth Charter – described by its creators as the new Ten Commandments – in public places including our public schools.  The ACLU is apparently quite selective in its reading of the Constitution when it comes to asking our courts to determine who is and who is not entitled to exercise the right of free speech and freedom of religious expression in the public square. 

With its Human Rights Program, the American Civil Liberties Union is now going even one step further.  It is asking non-American institutions to tell us how to conduct our own affairs under international human rights norms that are supposed to supplement the Constitution.  Every domestic policy issue becomes fair game for the “international arbiters” selected by the ACLU to apply international “norms” instead of our own duly enacted laws.  The ACLU is no longer willing to rely on the strength of
America’s own democratic institutions to resolve our problems ourselves within the proven framework of our own Constitution.  They want to outsource that task to global governance institutions that are hostile to the national sovereignty and democratic values of our country.  In short, the ACLU’s idiot savants have become the useful idiots for those enemies of the
United States whose aim is to manipulate the truth and undermine our unique Constitutional system of self-government.

[1] U.S. Constitution, Article VI (In its decision Reid v. Covert, the Supreme Court has concluded that it would make no sense for a treaty, once in effect as a result of the exercise of the President’s and the Senate’s Constitutional powers, to become the instrument for usurping the legal authority of the Constitution that established those powers in the first place.)


U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9; Article 4, Section 4.


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