INDIANAPOLIS - The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana praised a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit affirming that Tippecanoe County violated the First Amendment when it denied a marijuana legalization group permission to hold a rally on the courthouse grounds in Lafayette. The ACLU of Indiana brought the lawsuit on behalf of Higher Society of Indiana, Inc., an organization that advocates and rallies for the legalization of marijuana.
Under the ruling, which affirms the district court's opinion, Tippecanoe County is blocked from enforcing its policy of only allowing events on courthouse grounds that comport with the county's views.
"The freedom of speech is a pillar of our democracy and a fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director. "Tippecanoe County's policy of allowing certain groups to rally on courthouse grounds while silencing others is a clear violation of the First Amendment. This ruling is a victory for free speech, and for the rights of all citizens to make their voices heard."
In its opinion, the court concluded that "because the County's policy restricts private speech and it is not viewpoint-neutral, it violates the First Amendment. Higher Society was entitled to a preliminary injunction. We affirm the district court's well-reasoned opinion."
"Government officials can't stop people from speaking just because they don't like what's being said," said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director. "As we have for nearly 100 years, the ACLU will continue to challenge unconstitutional restrictions on free speech and defend the right of all Americans to speak their minds."
In May 2016, Higher Society held a rally on courthouse property, but was denied the ability to return to the public space because of a "closed forum" policy that allows county commissioners individually and as a whole to determine which favored groups have access and which do not. In December, the ACLU won a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, which the county then appealed.
May 18, 2017
"The ACLU of Indiana stands in strong defense of a woman's right to make decisions about her health, including her reproductive health and future. For over four decades, courts have confirmed that this constitutional right extends to unemancipated minors who have been deemed, by a judge, to be sufficiently mature to make a decision to obtain an abortion without parental consent. SEA 404 imposes new burdens on a young woman's access to abortion and on her health care providers, in violation of often reaffirmed constitutional rights."
ACLU of Indiana
May 18, 2017
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit April 12, 2017, demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans.
The action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU of Indiana lawsuit is seeking records from its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection's office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP's implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans at Indianapolis International Airport.
The ACLU first sought this information through FOIA requests submitted to CBP on February 2. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing.
View the live Facebook video of the news conference.
For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS—Groups that fight against discrimination and stand up for the rights and protections of all individuals, including the ACLU of Indiana, Brothers United of Indianapolis, Sisters United of Indianapolis, Freedom Indiana, and Indiana Youth Group, came together today and spoke in solidarity against the Trump administration's rescission, yesterday, of Title IX guidelines issued by President Obama in May of 2016.
"We are deeply disappointed by the Trump administration's decision to roll back guidance that simply urges schools to treat transgender students with the same respect and dignity as their classmates," said Kit Malone, Transgender Education and Advocacy Program Consultant, ACLU of Indiana. "Transgender students face discrimination in schools and experience worse educational outcomes, and poorer psychological well-being, than their peers. We should be fighting to protect our nation's children instead of turning our backs on them."
Since Election Day, the ACLU has seen a renewed sense of urgency from hundreds of thousands of Americans to protect civil liberties.