American Civil Rights Union

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American Civil Rights Union
Abbreviation ACRU
Formation 1998
Founder Robert B. Carleson
Type 501(c)(3) charitable organization
Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia
Susan A. Carleson

The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) is an American legal organization founded by former Reagan Administration official Robert B. Carleson in 1998.


Due to a lack of resources the ACRU originally restricted itself to amicus briefs, having filed briefs in 15 cases by 2008. It expanded into writing on legal issues and having its spokespeople appear on talk radio and TV.[1]

When founder Carleson died in 2006, the Board of Directors elected to name his widow, Susan Carleson, a former Reagan administration official, Chairman and CEO.[1]

The ACRU filed its first amicus brief in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, a case in which the Supreme Court decided that the Boy Scouts could not be legally forced to retain openly gay adult Scout leaders.[1][2] Other issues include Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board in December 2000, the Mount Soledad cross controversy and other First Amendment cases, the District of Columbia v. Heller Second Amendment case and an Indiana voting-rights case regarding the use of photo ID.[1] In 2010, the ACRU filed a brief arguing that the names of signers of a Washington state petition against gay marriage should not be published, likening gay rights activists to brownshirts.[3]


The ACRU is chaired by Susan A. Carleson (Carleson's widow). Kenneth A. Klukowski is the ACRU General Counsel and Robert H. Knight is a Senior Fellow.[4]

Members of the board of directors includes Susan Carleson, Peter Ferrara, and former Attorney General Ed Meese. The policy board initially included Robert Bork, Ed Meese, William Bradford Reynolds, Curtin Winsor and James Q. Wilson. It was later joined by Walter E. Williams and Kenneth W. Starr.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Field, Chris (31 March 2008). "Conservative Spotlight: The American Civil Rights Union". Human Events. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Nelson, Laura (9 June 2012). "Boy Scouts' ban on gays fought from the inside". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Liptak, Adam (April 19, 2010). "Before Gay Marriage Fight, Clashes on Free Speech". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Leadership and Staff". American Civil Rights Union. 12 June 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]