ACLU of Massachusetts

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) (established 1920) is a civil rights organization in the United States, and it is the Massachusetts affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLUM was founded a few months before the national organization, initially as the Massachusetts Civil Liberties Committee, and then the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (CLUM).[1] In 1995, CLUM changed its name to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) to better reflect its relationship with the national organization.

History and leadership[edit]

Recent and current work[edit]

1920s - 1945
Vietnam War era (1960s-1970s)
  • 1968 - The Massachusetts affiliate took the card-burning case of David O’Brien to the Supreme court, arguing that the act of burning was a form of symbolic speech, but the Supreme Court upheld the conviction in United States v. O'Brien, 391 US 367 (1968).[4]
  • Massachusetts Teachers' Oath case, Richardson v. Cole and Greenblatt (Mass.) (1969 state employee loyalty oath)
  • NAMBLA - In 2000, ACLUM represented the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), on first amendment grounds, in the Curley v. NAMBLA wrongful death civil suit that was based solely on the fact that a man who raped and murdered a child had visited the NAMBLA website.[5]
  • - Privacy and surveillance activism
  • 2014 - ACLUM urging dismissal of all 40,000+ criminal cases tainted by falsification of evidence by Annie Dookhan.[6]
  • 2013-2014 - Investigations of the Ibragim Todashev killing by the Boston FBI in May, 2013
  • 2014 - Response to end shackling of pregnant women prisoners while giving birth
  • 2014 - Commonwealth v. Augustine (Mass. S.J.C. Feb. 18, 2014) - ACLUM along with the National ACLU litigated a case requiring that a warrant be required when state or local police track Massachusetts resident cell phones. The case applied Massachusetts and federal constitutional protections, and significantly distinguished Smith v. Maryland, which found that installation of pen registers to track call data was not a Fourth Amendment search that required a warrant, because cell site location information (CSLI) reveals a person's movements and other information that a fixed phone would not remove.[7]
  • 2017 - Bridgeman v. District Attorneys (Mass. S.J.C. Jan. 18, 2017) - Litigation from the ACLUM, the national ACLU, the state public defender’s office, and law firm Fick & Marx LLP resulted in the dismissal of well over 21,000 drug cases tainted in the Hinton lab scandal involving Annie Dookhan.


Further research[edit]

  • Shawn M. Lynch, "'In Defense of True Americanism': The Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Radical Free Speech, 1915–1945" (Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston College, December 2006)
  • Walker, Samuel (1990), In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-504539-4
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, The Operations Manual of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Massachusetts and The ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts, 1996.

External links[edit]