The ACLU And Liberty
The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont is an organization of Vermonters dedicated to the defense of individual rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the Vermont Constitution.
While the rest of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the government to act, the Bill of Rights sets limits on what the government may do. Even a democratically elected government is not permitted to take away from the people inherent rights -- rights such as freedom of expression, belief and association, procedural fairness, equal treatment before the law, and privacy.
The sole mission of the American Civil Liberties Union is to protect citizens' constitutional rights and to enforce the Constitution's limits on government. Without legal guarantees of individual liberty, even American democracy can revert to acts of tyranny, to a despotism of the majority.
The ACLU is often asked of a particular case, "Why are you defending that person?" The answer is always the same: "Our only client is the Bill of Rights." In defending a cause or a person, the ACLU is defending the civil liberties of all Americans.
To let a liberty be violated anywhere is to let that liberty be eroded for everyone. Only by adhering to this fundamental principle, and rejecting the easy path of responding to the passions of the moment, can the ACLU fulfill its mission.
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