American Civil Rights Union
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The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) is an American legal organization founded by former Reagan Administration official Robert B. Carleson in 1998. It has been described by The Washington Times as a conservative alternative to the ACLU. The ACRU has filed numerous amicus briefs in court cases involving election law and voting rights, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), gun ownership and property rights cases, and cases involving the Boy Scouts of America including the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, defending the Boy Scouts' freedom of association right to create their own criteria for leaders and members. Christopher Coates is the ACRU General Counsel, J. Kenneth Blackwell and Robert Knight are Senior Fellows, Ken Klukowski is a Fellow, Jan LaRue is a Senior Legal Analyst, and Carleson's widow, Susan, is chairwoman.
Advocacy for photo ID laws and other election law matters
The ACRU argues in favor of restrictive voting-rights laws. It supports voter photo ID laws and successfully sued counties in Mississippi and Texas that had more people registered to vote than age-eligible residents.
Environmental and property-rights litigation
The ACRU submits briefs in cases challenging rulings by various federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, that the group believes violates private property rights. For example, in November 2014, the ACRU filed a brief siding with farmers in California's San Joaquin Valley who challenged a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that restricted water use in order to protect the endangered delta smelt. The ACRU did not succeed, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejecting the challenge.
In 2011, the ACRU filed a brief in support of an Idaho couple's successful challenge of an EPA ruling that prevented them from building on their property.
Second Amendment and gun litigation
The ACRU has filed briefs in every major case involving the Second Amendment, including Heller v. District of Columbia (2008). A 2015 ACRU publication, "The Truth about Gun Control," contends that gun control is a tool used by tyrannical regimes and against African-Americans in the post-Civil War South.
Church and state litigation
The ACRU has filed briefs arguing in favor of retaining crosses and other religious symbols in various places, as in the Mount Soledad cross controversy and a case involving roadside memorials erected to honor slain Utah state troopers.
Opposition to same-sex marriage
The ACRU filed a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of California Prop 8, a voter-approved amendment to the California State Constitution that barred recognition of same-sex marriage in State of California. The group also filed another brief in defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the California amendment. Both ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight and Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell have publicly criticized same-sex marriage.
- "National conservative civil liberties group supports argument that Menendez recall is constitutional". 2 April 2010.
- Human Events URL accessed 2008-04-06.
- Civil rights and wrongs – Forcing gay marriage on Americans would be an act of tyranny – Washington Times – May 3, 2015
- Saying No to Illicit Rulings – Washington Times – Feb. 1, 2015