‘Shame on You ACLU’: Moderate Liberals Slam ‘Civil Rights’ Org for Opposing Due Process on College Campuses

PHOTOALTO/AFP
PHOTOALTO/AFP

The response of the ACLU to the Trump education department’s proposal to handle allegations of sexual misconduct on college campuses has more people convinced the organization’s original mission to protect civil liberties no longer exists.

Matt Naham at Law & Crime observed the ACLU’s response to the new Title IX proposed rule has more than a few people convinced the organization is now “dead.”

Naham noted various reactions to the ACLU’s response, adding, “Many others have concluded that the ACLU as they knew it is no more.”

In response to education secretary Betsy DeVos’s announcement that her department’s proposed rule would emphasize the importance of ensuring those accused of sexual misconduct at school are provided with due process, the ACLU tweeted:

We advocate for fair school disciplinary processes that uphold the rights of both parties in campus sexual assault and harassment cases.

Today Secretary DeVos proposed a rule that would tip the scales against those who raise their voices.

We strongly oppose it.

The organization that once sought to protect the civil liberties of all Americans continued posting on Twitter:

The proposed rule would make schools less safe for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, when there is already alarmingly high rates of campus sexual assaults and harassment that go unreported.

It promotes an unfair process, inappropriately favoring the accused and letting schools ignore their responsibility under Title IX to respond promptly and fairly to complaints of sexual violence.

We will continue to support survivors.

“What has happened to ACLU is one of the saddest developments of the Trump era,” tweeted Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald. “But there are already groups – such as @TheFIREorg- emerging to replace it as an actual civil liberties group which defends rights regardless of partisan outcomes.”

Journalist Michael Tracey responded to Greenwald, “Complaining about excessive protections for people accused of crimes is an odd position for the ACLU to take, but then again it’s been slowly transforming into a general liberal advocacy organization rather than a civil liberties organization.”

Brooklyn College history professor KC Johnson tweeted the ACLU’s response was “mindboggling.”

“Cross-examination by a lawyer is ‘inappropriately favoring the accused?’” Johnson asked. “Ensuring both parties have access to training materials and evidence? Does the ACLU now adopt those positions more broadly?”

“This is reprehensible,” tweeted musician and “old school liberal” Collin Slattery. “The accused deserve due process. Period.”

“Shame on you ACLU,” Slattery continued. “The kangaroo courts that take place on campus are the very definition of violation of civil liberties.”

On Friday, DeVos released the long-awaited proposed rule that underscores the seriousness of sexual assault as it also stresses the importance of due process for those students accused of misconduct.

The rule calls for a “presumption of innocence throughout the grievance process,” “written notice of allegations and an equal opportunity to review all evidence collected.”

Additionally, both parties would have the right to cross-examination with the new rule.

“Not only will these rules restore basic due process and fairness to college tribunals, but they also — given how basic the changes are — highlight just how ridiculous university kangaroo courts have become,” observes David French at National Review.

French adds:

I know what you’re thinking. “Wait. Not only did some schools deny cross-examination, but they also denied the accused access to the relevant evidence in his case, including exculpatory evidence?” Yes, they did deny access to evidence. It wasn’t uncommon for accused students to walk into hearings with only a cursory understanding of the charges against them and partial access to evidence, and then have to respond — on the fly — without access to any legal help.

French continued the ACLU’s response to the new rule created “a disturbance in the legal Force, as if the voices of generations of ACLU civil libertarians cried out in anguish and were suddenly silenced by wokeness.”

“The old-school ACLU knew there was no contradiction between defending due process and ‘supporting survivors,’” he added. “Indeed, it was through healthy processes that we not only determined whether a person had been victimized, but also prevented the accused from becoming a ‘survivor’ of a profound injustice.”

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