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Reader Karl B. writes:

Most TTAG readers don’t hold the ACLU in high regard. But I’d like to point out an instance of their defending the Second Amendment. They are going to court today in Oregon to challenge the No Fly List. They specifically argue that the No Fly List should not be used to bar people from their constitutional right to own guns . . .

Now, I know that most of your readers take issue with the ACLU’s view that “[t]here is no constitutional bar to reasonable regulation of guns.” But it’s telling that the ACLU does, in fact, stick up for the Second from time to time. They might not be as dogged as we would like, but it does happen. Importantly, they have the legal expertise to do it. I’m not aware of the NRA, for example, filing suit about this issue.

To paraphrase the Latin phrase, “bis dat qui city dat.” He who defends quickly defends twice.

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89 Responses to Man Bites Dog: ACLU Defends 2A Rights in No-Fly List Suit

    • Why was that unexpected, exactly?

      http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/04/robert-farago/aclu-defends-missouri-gun-rights-guy/

      (and this is just one of the many examples where ACLU stepped in)

      The irony is that every article on ACLU here on TTAG starts with something like “Most TTAG readers don’t hold the ACLU in high regard”. I kinda can’t help but wonder just how many cases like these will it take for people here to admit that they’re wrong, and that ACLU is not anti-2A, and is not hypocritical about their stance (i.e. they don’t choose whom to defend based on their likes and dislikes of the defendant’s politics, 2A included)?

      • there could be 100 articles a day for 20 years in every gun rights and right wing blog and they’d never put it together.

      • They’ve never been forceful about the right to keep and bear arms. Just read any ACLU newsletter, it’s all about gay rights, black rights, abortion rights, sometimes first amendment rights, and they hardly ever mention gun rights. Their focus is on only those civil rights the left thinks are important.

        They sent me an email the other day asking me to donate because people were “being thrown in jail for being poor”. It wasn’t some new horrible thing that had emerged, they were simply talking about criminals who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay the fines for their minor crimes so they had to go to jail for a few days. Somehow, even if they do defend due process—and they’re not defending the right to keep and bear arms, they’re only defending due process—I doubt their commitment to this cause is ironclad. Their commitment to raising money from their progressive donors is ironclad. I don’t expect they’ll be talking up how they defending the civil right to own guns in this case to their left-wing donors.

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/12/johannes-paulsen/johannes-to-aclu-drop-dead/

        • They’re specifically saying they’re not in business of protecting RKBA; why would you expect it to be otherwise?

          But my point is that they do step in for other rights infringements, and there’s an obvious here, so why is everyone surprised that they did step in?

      • Except Chuck Norris.He expects the Spanish Inquisition.

        Conversely, the Spanish Inquisition doesn’t expect Chuck Norris.

  1. That’s the problem with defending civil liberties in a partisan climate. Sooner or later you hit that hypocrisy wall. They chose well this time.
    A faux civil liberties org such as the ACLU is a very dangerous thing. It makes tyranny acceptable and popular by disguising it as liberty. See the current trend of crushing free speech to save free speech.

    • Cite actual examples of the ACLU “crushing” free speech?

      Also, when the NRA doesn’t say a word about the no-fly list until it becomes a 2A issue, is that them casting tyranny as acceptable?

      • Uh…..no…..that’s just the NRA adhering to its mission of defending and fostering Second Amendment rights. When No Fly threatened 2A, they became interested.

        Silence or inaction can only reasonably be construed as consent when there’s some existing obligation to take a position or make a decision on that issue. You can’t compel an organization to involve itself in every issue. It’s ok to have an unexpressed thought. It’s ok not to have a dog in every fight.

        • Heh, this must be the Kitty Genovese approach to civil rights.

          The amusing thing is the hatred being directed towards the ACLU by the “PoTG” when they are defending civil rights against a broad range of government crimes. The only logical conclusion must be that the PoTG are totally cool with most abridgment of civil rights.

        • Well, Blaine, it’s not so surprising. The ACLU will ferociously defend a woman’s “right” to murder her unborn baby; but completely ignore another woman’s right to defend herself from being murdered by the government outlawing her right to KABA.

        • Come on now, the ACLU has a better track record of suing government murderers than just about anybody.

        • Kitty….. That’s cute.

          No, Blaine, it’s a matter of competing priorities, resource allocation, and alignment of expertise with efforts.

          Worthy causes don’t follow, order and present themselves in a strict sequence at convenient intervals. Not every cause can be undertaken simultaneously. Not every group is equally adept at addressing each affront.

          Moreover, groups have a responsibility to their membership to be good stewards of their dues/donations. They cannot be effective today, nor preserve their credibility tomorrow, if they stray too far from their mandate and spread themselves too thin trying to slay every dragon in the countryside. Hence, you see organizations not sitting on their butts, as you snidely suggest, but rather picking their battles.

          Now, if as an armchair activist and keyboard commando, you think you can do it better, then by all means go set up your own shop and show ’em how it’s done. Until then, your constructive input is welcome, but your holier-than-thou sniping from the cheap seats we can all do without.

        • Good one missing the reference. Google exists, use it.

          It is amusing that you claim the total contempt shown here for the ACLU and the civil rights issues they fight for is actually just “picking your battles”. That is even as the NRA sucks up to cops who have shown they don’t care about free speech or due process.

          Anyone here quitting the NRA and moving to the GOA over that? I did. That’s how I “do it better”.

        • Guys, you’re arguing with blain cooper, aka waco biker, aka sexual tyranasaurus, aka more dead soldiers and who knows how many others. He’s a troll that isn’t interested in gun rights, due process or civil rights.

          Just thought you should know. Now back to our regular broadcast.

        • This is according to Mr. “Only gun rights are civil rights”. You were quoted saying this. At least have the courage to stand by what you say, like me: more dead soldiers please, thank you for the courage to resist against US government criminality, etc.

          You just hate the ACLU because they oppose your preferred brand of tyranny and government criminality. 🙂

        • The point Iwas trying to make, trannysoreass, is that you have no convictions, You’re a troll. Arguing with you is a waste of time. Multiple personalities, all of which are defective. You claim to be for civil rights but bring up due process in the case of a cop that stands accused of a crime and you have him tried and convicted before his day in court.

          Since san berdoo you’ved switched back to BC and reined it in a little. No doubt self identifying as a home grown, self radicalized jihadist lost some of it’s fun for you once things got real here.

          Or your fear got to you. Remember, you’re the go along to get along guy.

          Regardless. I was letting the other guys know. I wasn’t going to debate you and I won’t. I will just pop in from time to time and point out your lying trollness.

        • As I recall I simply pointed out your rank hypocrisy of calling for the extrajudicial murder of supposed “copkillers”, then bloviate about due process for murderous cops even as multiple posters pointed out the flaws and conflicts of interest of having the government investigate their own goons.

          Basically anyone who points out the flaws in your posts is a troll. 🙂

          By the way, stay mad and rant about “jihadis”, because anyone who opposes the US wars in the Middle East must be a “jihadi”. Apparently a majority of the world population are “jihadis”.

          More dead soldiers please. Every dead invading soldier for the imperialist regime is a blessing for humanity.

      • The NRA is a single issue organization. All they care about is gun rights, and related activities. The only time they are discussing other rights is when guns are involved.

        The ACLU is an organization that claims that they defend civil liberties. Well that is unless it is the second amendment.

        As far as I can tell this case is about the No Fly List itself, not about it being used for guns, that part was just tacked on.

        • Actually the ACLU has teamed up with the NRA multiple times to defend 2A rights, but whatever, let the hate flow.

          It is fine that the NRA is a single issue organization. Just don’t have the chutzpah to say that gun rights are the only civil rights. The ACLU has already stopped more actual government tyranny than the NRA ever has.

        • They might team up when OTHER rights are involved, but the ACLU continues to hold the Second Amendment as a collective right. And will not get involved on the side of civil rights on purely Second Amendment cases.

          Don’t believe me they basically go on how they believe that Heller was a wrong decision here:
          https://www.aclu.org/second-amendment

        • Yes, the ACLU’s refusal to acknowledge the individual right is obvious.

          Unfortunately, there are no pro-2A civil rights groups that give a damn about other civil rights like due process or free speech. The NRA is busy sucking up to killer cops. Until there is a viable pro-gun alternative to the ACLU, it is the only option for libertarian types on issues besides guns.

        • The ACLU is also a single issue organization. Their single issue is civil rights, the way they understand them. And they are very explicit about how they understand them. That understanding does not include RKBA (by itself; when a case involves other aspects, such as due process issues, or equality before law, they step in to defend those aspects, as in this case).

          For some mysterious reason, that causes angst among right-wingers. Even though it is not, in any meaningful sense, different from e.g. NRA and SAF limiting themselves to RKBA and explicitly excluding other rights from their scope.

        • The ACLU has successfully fought to have confiscated guns returned to their owners multiple times.
          Not because they are believe you should own them but because they believe the police should not confiscate anything you legally own. It’s a fine-line sort of difference, but I appreciate the end result.

      • Except the NRA is dedicated to fostering the responsible use of firearms. They’re not a broad-spectrum civil rights organization like the ACLU claims to be. Demanding that the NRA speak up on non-firearms matters is like expecting the World Wildlife Fund to take a position on school vouchers.

  2. “He who defends quickly defends twice.” Since you say this is a paraphrase, what is the actual Latin quote? Sounds like a good one to keep handy, along with “Si vis pacem para bellum.”

  3. The ACLU is only getting involved because even they can see where an extra-judicial secret list that revokes constitutional protections and rights leads to.

    • And that’s OK with me.

      I’m as concerned about the 2nd now as I am about the others that will be sucked into this vortex next.

      Governments trend towards more regulation and less freedom – we don’t get rid of laws, we make more (after the fact, after the horse has left the barn typically).

      • +1. It is an obvious precursor to the ultimate list of any government and that would be the Enemies of the State list compiled by bureaucrats we never heard of and our elected officials. Speaking of elected officials why do TTAG scribers value the Bill of Rights more than them? I know Trump wants to make America great again but I’ll settle for making America America again.

        As far as the ACLU goes we are better off with them than without them but the trend is they too have an agenda other than attacking laws and practices that defy the Constitution.

        • ACLU’s agenda is explicit and spelled out on their website. You can see what exactly they understand as civil rights, and what they don’t think belongs there.

          Note that nowhere in the name of the organization does it say “constitution”. They consider some things enumerated in the constitution to not be civil rights in and of themselves, and they consider some things not enumerated to be civil rights. Since there’s no strict, all-encompassing definition of “civil rights”, they’re entitled to their own list of such. So long as they’re explicit about what’s on that list, why is that a problem?

    • I argued this several times at different progressive web sites. And I was not alone. Even those who think there should be some firearm regulation thought using secret non-judicial lists to curtail Constitutional Rights is wrong. What other Rights could such a list be used to limit?

      There is a process to either pass legislation for further firearm regulation or pass a Constitutional Amend. to change the 2nd Amend. This list does neither and is an end run around the process. If one feels strongly about it, then start a movement and change public opinion enough to elect the required numbers of Congressmen and White House occupant to pass the legislation. Follow the process.

      Ridge

  4. The requirements for being placed on the list need to be clear and defined. The process for getting your name removed from the list needs to be clear and defined. The only thing that is being clearly defined here is the punitive action taken against anyone on the lists.

    What is next? Writing tickets and taking away the driver’s license of anyone who owns a sport bike?

    • What is next? Adding political enemies to the list, of course. And NO, I am not kidding.

      For reference political enemies and “terrorists” include the likes of United States military veterans, Christians, and constitutionalists … at least according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

    • The requirements for being placed on the list need to be clear and defined. The process for getting your name removed from the list needs to be clear and defined.

      @Wade, that’s a good start. But as long as the list is secret, compiled by unknown and unnamed functionaries with the ethics of Lois Lerner, the no-fly and the watch lists will always have the stench of a star chamber

  5. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. The ACLU has done some good things for some nice people, I’ve also seen them commit some heinous bullsh*t in my time.

    Pax usque victoria

  6. The problem with the NRA is that they always seem to stand back and watch until either the dust settles or the winds blow the way they want before weighing in. Maybe its that they pick their battles or their lobbyists are holding out for more money. I want a more pro-active and time aggressive NRA. Perhaps its time for LaPierre to hand the reigns to a younger more aggressive leader. Kind of tired of this OFWG.

    On this issue and this issue only…..Hurrah for ACLU. They also need to sue the State of Connecticut for the same No Fly List BS.

    • Well, hell, I read the linked article and you are exactly right. Color me not-quite-so-shocked. As far as the ACLU (which has been suing the .gov over the no-fly list for a long time now) is concerned, the 2A is just an afterthought, evidently. Still, if they kill the dragon, everyone benefits.

  7. Well, color me shocked–for the moment. But then, the guys who defended the free speech rights of Skokie Nazis in one well-publicized case will happily let anti-abortion protesters be subjected to the most draconian speech restrictions for years on end. They will rail against the double-jeopardy implications of “separate sovereign” prosecutions for the same alleged criminal act, until someone they don’t like is subjected to such a second prosecution. Like the newspaper ombudsmen who, well after the inauguration, admit that their newspaper’s coverage of the elections was horribly biased and vow that they will constantly be on guard against such in the future (to prove, of course, how “objective” the paper really is), the ACLU will occasionally depart from their normal practices to “prove” how “nonpartisan” they are. Nevertheless, I obviously wish them well here.

    • >> will happily let anti-abortion protesters be subjected to the most draconian speech restrictions for years on end.

      Example?

      >> They will rail against the double-jeopardy implications of “separate sovereign” prosecutions for the same alleged criminal act, until someone they don’t like is subjected to such a second prosecution.

      Example?

  8. A broken clock is right about two times a day.

    But if the ACLU was a broken clock, they would only be right about every other day.

    • That’s about what you’d have with a (12 hour dial) watch that loses six hours a day. Which would be pretty “broken” even if not totally dead.

  9. Someone must have told them that the majority of the names on the list don’t sound to be of northern European origin.

  10. Lets be honest. The ACLU isn’t so much defending the second as they are addressing a back-door that put at risk the rights they do advocate for. Its a rare case of aligning principles between the ACLU and the PotG, and no more.

  11. There is no constitutional bar to reasonable enslavement of Negros or the Irish then….

    They need to be presented with their hypocrisy, instill dis-cognition and then point it out by name… Liberals are well educated and like to think they are willing to be convinced by evidence… use it! Take the high ground and pwn.

  12. The ACLU has help out in 2A cases in Rhode Island. It’s not unheard of.

    They also did the alienage case in Kentucky for CDWL’s.

  13. This is not the first time that Progressives have sacrificed agenda items to build an unusual alliance in order to reach a bigger goal. See, their agenda is fluid; their insatiable drive to attain absolute power over We The People is constant.

  14. Hey I’d USE the ACLU in a discrimination thing. But they get no praise from me. As far as I can tell this is a pro-gun website and I see no evidence the ACLU is pro-gun-quite the contrary…

    • ACLU is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. It’s gun-agnostic. If you care about your other rights, they’re the people you go to. For RKBA, there’s no shortage of other orgs to help you out.

    • Good luck with that.

      Here’s a link. I wish I had read it before I gave them any money years ago. They won’t see a penny from me ever again. Bunch of liberal hypocrites (but I repeat myself).

      https://www.aclu.org/second-amendment

      Notice how they say that while they disagree with Heller, it’s possible that some Federal and State laws are infringing upon the 2A. Aaaaaaaand? They’ve never done anything about it. They have other, more important (to them) issues with the no-fly list.

  15. Not gonna complain as long as they don’t screw it up. May as well use some well meaning liberal’s dime to fight his.

  16. This suit, originally filed back in 2010, may have some impact on the Democrats’ recent attempts to deny firearms freedom by tying ineligibility to the No Fly list. However, that’s purely serendipity.

    This No Fly list suit long predates that particular anti-2A effort. The ACLU only casually, almost expediently, raises the 2A issue as an afterthought. All they’re doing is tacking on some additional reasons to bolster a case they were already conducting. They are not supporting the Second Amendment for its own sake.

    They’re co-opting the Second Amendment, piggybacking on its success in court in recent years, purely for their own purposes. They aren’t on our side and never were. We might yet benefit from their serving their own purposes, but that’s not the same thing as altruism or genuine defense of liberty on their part.

    It’s more like the free market’s Invisible Hand. Just keep in mind, any other time, those ultraliberal litigators would give your 2A rights the very visible finger.

      • Not when it’s the ACLU’s lawyers who are all of a sudden talking about the guns in their lawsuits This No Fly list has been around since the towers were still smouldering. ACLU didn’t file this suit until 2010. Meanwhile, the NRA and other pro-2A forces have been fighting and winning in court since before all that.

        • Please, show where Latif vs Holder mentions guns. Also, the reason the ACLU lawsuit against the no-fly list was filed years after 9/11 was because the list itself was classified and revealing its very existence took years of lawsuits. None of which was filed by the NRA.

          All in all, yours is a hilarious attempt to give credit to the NRA and the “PoTG” for a constitutional issue they literally put no effort into until two months ago.

        • ACLU has run several individual court cases for people who found themselves in trouble because of being put on the no-fly list. Once they had sufficient accumulated evidence to make a cohesive case challenging the program as a whole, they did so.

          And, of course, they couldn’t add the gun angle to that case until there actually was one. Which there wasn’t until the recent bill. Now that there is one, they didn’t hesitate to add it. So what’s your problem?

        • El Rushbo says they’re bad, so they must be bad. Ironically who was it that defended Limbaugh against the illegal seizure of his medical records? Right. the ACLU.
          They have fought many times to have firearms returned to their rightful owners, defended the right to carry firearms in Texan’s vehicles, argued against Harry Reid’s gun control bill back in 2013…. they have actually been quite active in a manner positive to 2A rights.

  17. The ACLU is firmly entrenched on the lunatic fringe of the left wing. Occasionally, it goes so far to the left that it ends up on the right. Like now.

    If the only people denied gun rights because of these secret lists were White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, would the ACLU complain? I don’t think so. It would not care about that particular ox being gored.

    • I’ve also been very uncomfortable with the way that the ACLU treats privileges enshrined in statute (e.g., affirmative action) with far more enthusiasm than rights protected in the Constitution.

    • >> The ACLU is firmly entrenched on the lunatic fringe of the left wing.

      Examples?

      >> If the only people denied gun rights because of these secret lists were White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, would the ACLU complain? I don’t think so.

      You are aware that ACLU defended free speech rights of Christian Identity neo-Nazis, right? I don’t think you can get more “WASP” than that.

  18. Good for the ACLU. I’ll take help from anyone who wants to offer it in good faith.

    They’ll have to learn that one has to say the number “2” in order to count to “10”, however, before they’ll ever get any more of my money, though. Too many other organizations out there who don’t handicap themselves like that.

    • I think Mr. Pierogie’s link above to the ACLU’s specific position on the 2A should settle any questions about the likelihood of that happening. The ACLU was initially very specific about their purpose, to use “civil liberties” to bring about a socialist utopia IIRC. Individual ownership of firearms is pretty incompatible with that goal. Making the State supreme over religious beliefs, undermining legal order in the capitalist state, and likewise undermining traditional non-state structures like the biological nuclear family are not so incompatible with it.

    • >> Too many other organizations out there who don’t handicap themselves like that.

      Can you give an example of a civil rights organization that has similar size and capabilities, that is in the business of protecting even half of the rights that ACLU does?

      Do you also refuse to give money to NRA because they don’t do anything to protect the 1st? If not, then why do you have a problem with ACLU having a specific list of things they’re willing to protect?

  19. The ACLU is defending Due Process here , and nothing more . The ACLU couldn’t care less about 2A . Any semblance of an alliance is illusory at best .

    • Bingo. All they are doing is mentioning that the lack of due process regarding the no fly list was brought up during the most recent smack down of gun control.

    • You don’t need to agree on everything to be allies. You just need to not actively disagree on anything. Which is the case here – I don’t think that anyone on RKBA side of things would disagree with ACLU’s perspective on due process; and meanwhile ACLU, whatever their interpretation of 2A, do not get involved in anti-gun advocacy.

      An enemy of your enemy is not always your friend; but if they’re not your enemy, then that makes them a friend.

  20. “There is no constitutional bar to reasonable regulation of guns” -ACLU

    Guess they are ignoring that whole “shall not be infringed” constitutional bar.

  21. Still, the ACLU does not defend the 2A the way they would defend gay rights, and this is the problem with the ACLU. AKA cherry-pickers.

  22. …and in other news, it was reported that Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden engaged each other in a snowball fight outside their assisted living facility earlier this afternoon!

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