Latest Articles

A foolish furor in North Prov; so over Grover; we need more women

Phillipe and Jorge are outraged that a North Providence police officer forced a carload of 'utes to do push-ups by the side if the road as penance for vandalizing a mailbox. What kind of sick, vigilante justice is this?
Do the right thing
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  November 30, 2012

Pot patients could be out in the cold

Mainers who live in federally subsidized low-income housing and legally use marijuana to ease symptoms of chronic conditions may find themselves forced to choose between their shelter and their medicine, if a new Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) pol
Gimme Shelter Dept.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  October 19, 2012

Tapley racks up another award

Portland Phoenix contributing writer Lance Tapley, who has covered conditions in the Maine State Prison and throughout the state's corrections system since 2005, will be honored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine for "outstanding advocacy
By JEFF INGLIS  |  October 12, 2012

John Silber, tough witness, R.I.P.

John Silber, like anyone, had his faults.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  October 05, 2012

A modest proposal; farewell, Johnny and Etta; leave Jessica alone!

If, as suggested by Governor Linc, state agencies are facing the chop in all areas of government, may Phillipe and Jorge offer a solution to at least minimize the bleeding, and perhaps build a little "all for one, one for all" spirit as well?
Share the pain?
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  January 27, 2012
portnoy 4

A libertarian's view of the Barstool/Brady child-porn fiasco

Sophisticated First Amendment scholars, lawyers, and media commentators, all of whom are strongly free-speech/free-press supporters, were critical of Coakley for allegedly engaging in a legal bluff — the veiled threat of possible prosecution under the st
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  August 26, 2011

Frank and Pot

Are Civil (Liberties) Unions America's Best Hope?

Ron Paul and Barney Frank make odd bedfellows, but one hopes theirs is more than a one-night-stand.
Freedom Watch

An all-seeing eye for the FBI?

The latest Boston Phoenix is spread across your steering wheel. You're reading this article. In a legal parking spot. With the engine off. A transportation cop zaps your license plate with a computerized scanner, cycles your registration through the s
Every step you take
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 29, 2011
John Reinstein

Freedom's Foot Soldier

No one has labored with more love and assiduity to keep those liberties established by John Adams secure than John Reinstein, who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as the top lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.  
Plus, Why Romney, Brown and Kerry are wrong
By EDITORIAL  |  March 11, 2011

Elena Kagan’s shaky record

As a potential Obama nominee for Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan has liberal bona fides and the likely support of the right. But if her record is any indication, she’s more likely to side with the conservative bloc on matters of executive power and wa
What a Kagan appointment to the Supreme Court could mean for civil liberties

The Big Hurt: Clench and release(1)

Press-release time again!
The week in awful press releases
By DAVID THORPE  |  March 12, 2010

In Iran, this is great - in the US, the feds are after you

Wired has the story of a man we first heard tell of from local anarchist Paul McCarrier after the G-20 protests: a man who used...
By Jeff Inglis  |  October 29, 2009

Free speechifying

How can Dan Kennedy pick a list of people who trample freedom of expression without listing the mayor of Boston?
Letters to the Boston editor, July 17, 2009

Human rights watch

Last week, on the heels of anti-torture panels and protests in Portland, Washington DC, and elsewhere, the Justice Department told the nation that it would have to wait a few more days before information about American torture policies and practices is
Acknowledging, and punishing, torture
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 26, 2009

Guilty until proven guilty

The US Supreme Court's June 18 decision denying prisoners access to DNA testing — a procedure that could reliably prove innocence — adds to the high court's decades-long shameful record on criminal-justice issues.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  June 26, 2009

ACLU and Irons: Strange political bedfellows

Politics has seldom made stranger bedfellows than those exposed when the RI ACLU hopped into the sack with former state senator William Irons.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  May 08, 2009


Sunshine on the ACLU: a mea culpa

"Standing up to your political enemies is easy, fun, and often profitable," writes Barney Frank, on the lead jacket blurb for Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  May 08, 2009

Speak no evil?

Anthony Lewis's free-speech credentials are impeccable: among other things, the former New York Times columnist is James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues at Columbia University's Journalism School
Why tightening up on anti-Obama speech is a bad idea
By ADAM REILLY  |  January 14, 2009

The problem with liberals' dislike of Rick Warren

The need to be consistent in the defense of the rights of all in our country — even those whose views we may find abhorrent.
Uncivil Liberties
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  December 23, 2008

Give thanks to those who fight for civil liberties

Rights + Reasons
A quarter-century ago, Dan Donnelly, a friend and fellow plaintiff in an unsuccessful challenge of a religious holiday display on public property in Pawtucket, wondered who could possibly lead the local chapter of the ACLU in constitutionally challenged Rhode Island.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  November 25, 2008

“One small step against rigging our elections”

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By Harvey Silverglate  |  September 24, 2008

Menino and Unfree Speech Zones

            Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino treads a sham...
By Harvey Silvergate  |  August 01, 2008

Defending the Rights of Polygamists/ACLU Re-Considers

By,  Wendy Kaminer               Last m...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  May 12, 2008

Loving in Virginia

Today's newspapers carry the obituary for the somewhat accidental civil rights pioneer Mildred Lovin...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 06, 2008

Do Students Have a Right not to be Outed?

The ACLU has found itself a strong test case for determining whether a student’s right to privac...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 02, 2008

Curley v NAMBLA

By Wendy Kaminer        Finally.  Robert and Barbara Curley have ...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  April 24, 2008

Defending Mormon Polygamists: The ACLU Squeaks Up

By Wendy Kaminer,        Now that Judge Barbara Walther has refused to...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  April 21, 2008

A Bill of Rights, Not a Code of Etiquette

By Wendy Kaminer            Late last year, when Fox Ne...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  March 17, 2008

This Just In: Good News for Sailors and George Carlin

By James F. Tierney You may have heard about the Pennsylvania woman who was charged with disorderly ...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  December 14, 2007

Watch What You Imagine

By Wendy Kaminer        Alberto Gonzales left office patting himself on the back for his work combating online child porn, a Bush Administration priority.  Congress...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  November 14, 2007