Head of ACLU Free Speech Projects Says First Amendment ‘One’ among Group’s ‘12 or 15 Different Values’

An ACLU legal observer watches international passengers arriving at Dulles International Airport. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)

The head of the ACLU’s free speech, privacy, and technology project recently excused the group’s shift toward advocating for progressive causes over free speech by saying that the First Amendment is just one of the group’s “12 or 15 different values.”

The comments by the ACLU’s Ben Wizner came during an interview with the New York Times, in which he noted that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) had taken a strong lead in defending free speech on college campuses.

“FIRE does not have the same tensions,” Wizner said. “At the ACLU, free speech is one of 12 or 15 different values.”

The report recounts incidents in which the ACLU seemingly took the side of progressive values over free speech on campus, including in 2015 when activists and a journalism professor physically blocked a student journalist at the University of Missouri from taking photos and talking to demonstrators at a protest against racism on campus.

Two national ACLU officials applauded the “courageous” leadership of student activists and faculty members but made no mention of First Amendment rights.


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