The ACLU took on all sorts of cases that involved sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle, violations of the Constitution. The ACLU has, in fact, even defended the free speech rights of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, both of whom are filled with abhorrent people spouting wildly unpopular rhetoric -- but rhetoric that is nevertheless protected speech under the First Amendment.
That said, the legal org has historically been far more liberal than it has ever been conservative, being quicker to take on cases defending, say, abortion and gay rights than gun cases and conservative campus speech.
Now, however, there is a growing faction within the organization to go full woke libtard because they believe that legal 'rights' for the far left are all that matter and that any political opponents don't deserve representation or even co-existence under the law and our founding document.
The New York Times, certainly not a bastion of 'right-wing extremism,' is even reporting the internal confict:
It was supposed to be the celebration of a grand career, as the American Civil Liberties Union presented a prestigious award to the longtime lawyer David Goldberger. He had argued one of its most famous cases, defending the free speech rights of Nazis in the 1970s to march in Skokie, Ill., home to many Holocaust survivors.
Mr. Goldberger, now 79, adored the A.C.L.U. But at his celebratory luncheon in 2017, he listened to one speaker after another and felt a growing unease.
Speaker after speaker, he said, talked about how conservatives did not deserve to have their right to free speech defended. Others claimed that blacks suffer far more exposure to hateful speech than do whites, which is another lie. But that's what this once-prestigious organization has turned into: Just another woke lefty org with a penchant for authoritarianism on the Marxist scale.
Goldberger, meanwhile, is a Jew -- and yet, he defended the rights of those Nazis to speak anyway, because the Constitution does not make exemptions like that.
“I got the sense it was more important for ACLU staff to identify with clients and progressive causes than to stand on principle,” he told the Times. “Liberals are leaving the First Amendment behind.”
The leftward lurch began in recent years; the 'American Civil Leftist Union' filed something akin to 400 lawsuits against the Trump administration, leaving many to believe that the org has left behind its founding mission: To steadfastly defend the First Amendment.
"Its national and state staff members debate, often hotly, whether defense of speech conflicts with advocacy for a growing number of progressive causes, including voting rights, reparations, transgender rights and defunding the police," the Times reported.
"Those debates mirror those of the larger culture, where a belief in the centrality of free speech to American democracy contends with ever more forceful progressive arguments that hate speech is a form of psychological and even physical violence," the Times added.
And while there is an old saying -- the pen is mightier than the sword -- speech is not about inflicting violence, per se (at least it wasn't prior to the proliferation of social media, which has become a cultural toilet). Speech is not violence, it's speech; the communication of ideas that our founders so cherished because they were part of a monarchy whose head of state tolerated no dissent.
Today's American leftists are like King George in that way; they falsely make the 'certain speech is violence' argument to assuage their natural authoritarian tendency to quash opposing views and ideas because they really are convinced that their positions are the only rational, correct ones.
It's a lie. And even some old ACLU hands, as well as the New York Times, know it.