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‘They’ve Become Partisan’: Former ACLU Head Blasts Org’s Decline Away From Championing Free Speech


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Based Politics

On Friday, HBO host and comedian Bill Maher interviewed former American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director Ira Glasser on his HBO program “Real Time.”


Glasser has spoken out in recent years about how much his former organization has drifted away from its roots of fearlessly defending absolute free speech for all. He argues that partisanship has diminished the ACLU, dragging it leftward to the point of no longer defending those whose speech doesn’t reflect their “values.”

Glasser wanted viewers to know why he believes the ACLU’s step back from defending free speech is dangerous for the preservation of basic constitutional freedoms in the United States.

How the ACLU Has Changed Over Time

“So you were a head of this organization for 25 years, almost, from 1978 into this century,” Maher began. “It’s changing. It was a stalwart defender of free speech and civil liberties. Is it still that?” 

“Not as much,” Glasser answered. 

“They just produced a couple of years ago new guidelines for their lawyers to use when deciding what free speech cases to take,” the ex-ACLU man explained. “This is a requirement now for the national ACLU employers, that before they take a case defending someone’s free speech they have to make sure that the speech doesn’t offend or threaten other civil liberties values.”

“In other words, before they’re going to defend your free speech, they want to see what you say,” a befuddled-looking Glasser continued. “What is the ACLU doing saying that?”

Maher replied, “I read that quote. The phrase was ‘values contrary to…’

Glasser jumped in, “Our values.”

Maher continued, “Our values,’ but your value is free speech.” Glasser laughed at Maher’s observation.
The old values no longer apply...
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