I’ve written before about this stupid argument, which is all too common among the anti-ACLU crowd. They find a case where someone’s rights were violated but they’re represented by some other group and say, “A ha! Where was the ACLU? They aren’t defending this group just because they don’t like what they say.” But rarely is this argument stated quite so idiotically as in this post by Jay at STACLU.
The argument is dumb enough in any form, for one obvious reason: the ACLU can only file a case where the client has asked them to represent them. They don’t file cases on behalf of themselves, they file them on behalf of clients. In this case, a group of anti-abortion protestors says the police harrassed them and took their signs away (and if that’s true, I hope the police get nailed for it). But if you were an anti-abortion group, would you rather be defended by the ACLU or by the ADF or some other group that agrees with you? In this case, the group went to the ADF, who is representing them. So it’s dumb enough that Jay is making this argument:
Yoo hoo??? ACLU???? Where are you???…One would think that an organization that prides itself as the protector of freech would have been quick to the scene of political protestors, especially with accusations of police intimidation…Protesting abortion is another matter though. The abortion movement is the ACLU’s most lucrative project and its number one priority…Once again, the ACLU has a golden opportunity to prove me and other critics wrong about their double standards of free speech when it comes to abortion.
It’s a dumb enough argument on its own, since it’s highly unlikely that the ACLU ever had the chance to represent this group in the first place. If they actually had evidence that the ACLU had turned down the case, then they might have an argument. But evidence? For these guys? Who needs evidence when you’ve got perfectly good illogical smears?
But the argument becomes even more ridiculous when you see this statement in the same post:
If it would have been a nutcase cult protesting gay hate at a soldier’s funeral the ACLU would have found it speech worthy of protection.
So here’s their argument, in a nutshell: “The ACLU only cares about free speech when it agrees with the content of the speech. They won’t defend abortion protestors because they strongly support abortion and that’s a double standard.” Yet in this very same post, he cites their defense of a virulently anti-gay group while the ACLU supports gay rights every bit as strongly as they support abortion rights. So he’s citing an example in his own post that disproves his argument, and isn’t bright enough to realize it.
Of course, he also ignores all the cases in which the ACLU has defended abortion protestors. For instance, in Ohio they represented a preacher who was denied the right to carry on an abortion protest during a parade. They’ve represented street preachers who preach against abortion all over the country, in Indiana, in Iowa, in Nevada and in New Mexico. Those cases are conveniently ignored by the STACLUless because they’re darn inconvenient and it’s much more rational to stick their fingers in their ears and yell LA LA LA LA LA LA instead.