County ACLU National and Illinois
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These web pages, maintained by the Champaign County ACLU, were last updated on 13jan21 by bi
HOW THE ACLU CHOOSES ITS CASES
Time after time, the ACLU is asked, "Why did you defend that person, that group? Why did you represent the Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers?" The ACLU does not defend the person per se, but rather the right to express unpopular views--in the belief that once the government is empowered to violate anyone's rights it will use that power against all of us.
Historically, those most vulnerable, most controversial, or those least aware of their rights are most frequently the first victims of government repression. The ACLU works to stop the erosion of liberties before it spreads out of control.
The ACLU cannot take every case, no matter how legitimate. But the organization itself selects cases that will have the widest impact on the greatest number of people--cases that have the potential to break new ground or establish broad precedents, that in someway can strengthen the freedoms that we all enjoy.