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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is an organization that fights for civil liberties in the courts and the legislature. The ACLU is a national organization with local affiliates. Our local affiliates are the Davis Campus ACLU which does education programs and the ACLU of Northern California (ACLUNC) which actually litigates.
- The ACLUNC has been involved in litigation surrounding the pepper spray fiasco. They are behind Baker, et al v. Katehi, et al, a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by pepper-sprayed students and alumni against the university. They also intervened in Pike v. Regents, an Alameda County Superior Court case where John Pike and the police union sought to keep the Reynoso Report from seeing the light of day.
- The ACLU has also opposed the Student Activism Team, a defunct informal working group that surveilled campus activists. Related to this, UC Davis police officer Joanne Zekany impersonated a department of neuroscience administrator and infiltrated a campus protest.
The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power of a majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.
Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) and the Nineteenth Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920, and also the 24th.
The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:
- Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
- Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
- Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
- Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
- Campaign for Liberty (C4L), another civil liberties organization with a more "conservative" bent.