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This Week in Civil Liberties (11/15/2013)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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November 15, 2013

Which rapper showed off his ACLU membership card in a new video by the ACLU of Washington?

What bill recently passed by the Senate would prevent employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity?

How many people have been sentenced to die behind bars for nonviolent crimes such as stealing tools from a toolshed or taking a wallet from a hotel room?

The ACLU filed a FOIA request this week seeking records from what federal agency on whether law enforcement agencies and prosecutors think they need a warrant to obtain people's search history?

Blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of what drug than whites - despite comparable usage rate? (Hint: President Obama allegedly smoked it.)

Macklemore: "If You Like Being Free Like Me, Get The ACLU Card Today."

Rap superstar Macklemore is urging his fans to get the card "that lets my gay friends marry the hell out of each other." That's the ACLU's legendary membership card. "If you like being free like me, get the ACLU card today," the award-winning rapper advises in a video he launched this week.

Fired for Being Transgender, What ENDA Vote Means To Me

Not even ten years ago, Diane Schroer had a job offer rescinded by a prospective employer, the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress discriminated against Diane, despite her eminent qualification for the position, upon learning that Diane was in the process of a gender transition. This week, Diane blogs for the ACLU on what the passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) means for her and other LGBT employees.

My Dad Will Never Come Home

April Anderson's dad, Dicky Joe Jackson, is one of 3,278 people who will never come home. Dicky Joe is serving life without parole because he transported and sold methamphetamine to pay for a life-saving bone marrow transplant and other medical treatments for his son. He's one of the thousands who have been sentenced to prison until they die for nonviolent drug or property crimes. April blogs on effects of extreme sentencing on her family.

How Private is Your Online Search History?

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice to find out whether federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors think they need a warrant to obtain people's search queries from online search engine operators, or whether they think they can obtain it on a lower standard like a subpoena.

Our Presidents Smoked It. Why Is It Still a Crime?

The cover of a recent issue of The Nation calling for marijuana legalization features President Obama with his high school buddies, known as the Choom Gang, who, allegedly, were very into smoking weed. And as The Nation points out, Obama has company—Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before him both admitted to using drugs.

How is it, then, that we continue to enforce our marijuana criminal laws with serious consequences for some American youthdespite the fact that the last three presidents all used drugs?

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