Infighting at the American Civil Liberties Union shortly began after the group revealed on X on Saturday that it would represent the National Rifle Association in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
Several of the ACLU's affiliates, such as the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the New York Civil Liberties Union, wrote on X that they disagree with the ACLU's move to provide legal representation to the NRA.
X user 2Aupdates was the first to point this out:
*Grabs popcorn* pic.twitter.com/IouTDdvxdm— Rob Romano (@2Aupdates) December 10, 2023
As clarified yesterday, the ACLU emphasized that their support is not for the NRA's Second Amendment goals but instead on the First Amendment issue, opposing the federal government's blacklisting of an advocacy group based solely on its viewpoints.
* * *
The American Civil Liberties Union, a left-wing advocacy group, has returned to its roots in defense of an ideological enemy: the National Rifle Association. This move is part of their ongoing effort to remain relevant and defend Americans against First Amendment violations by an overreaching federal government.
"We're representing the NRA at the Supreme Court in their case against New York's Department of Financial Services for abusing its regulatory power to violate the NRA's First Amendment rights. The government can't blacklist an advocacy group because of its viewpoint," the ACLU announced on 'free speech' platform X.
BREAKING: We’re representing the NRA at the Supreme Court in their case against New York’s Department of Financial Services for abusing its regulatory power to violate the NRA’s First Amendment rights.— ACLU (@ACLU) December 9, 2023
The government can’t blacklist an advocacy group because of its viewpoint.
ACLU made it very clear that they "don't support the NRA's mission or its viewpoints on gun rights, and we don't agree with their goals, strategies, or tactics. But we both know that government officials can't punish organizations because they disapprove of their views."
We don’t support the NRA's mission or its viewpoints on gun rights, and we don’t agree with their goals, strategies, or tactics.— ACLU (@ACLU) December 9, 2023
But we both know that government officials can't punish organizations because they disapprove of their views. https://t.co/BPLhxFtH0P
ACLU and NRA have joined forces as the Supreme Court agreed to hear the gun rights advocacy group's free-speech challenge to what it alleges New York officials encouraged banks and insurance companies to blacklist it after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
"The NRA might be thought of as the 800-pound gorilla on the Second Amendment," NRA lawyer William A. Brewer III said, adding, "Clearly, the ACLU is the 800-pound gorilla on the First Amendment."
The civil liberties group's national legal director, David Cole, said, "It's never easy to defend those with whom you disagree. But the ACLU has long stood for the proposition that we may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it."
The question of when government advocacy violates the First Amendment is before the justices in another case this term. That one concerns the Biden administration’s efforts to persuade social media companies to delete what the government said is misinformation about topics like the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 election.
In its petition seeking Supreme Court review, the N.R.A., represented by Mr. Brewer’s firm and Eugene Volokh, a prominent First Amendment scholar, said the appeals court’s ruling could have sweeping consequences. -NY Times
Here's what X users are saying:
The ironic part is neither the ACLU nor the NRA protect the freedoms they claim to protect.— Assault Clip, #2A Voter (@assaultclip) December 9, 2023
It's always refreshing and encouraging seeing institutions stick up for their values instead of their side.— Matt Odhner (@MattOdhner1) December 9, 2023
Beyond shocking.— QTheLibertine (@QTheLibertine1) December 9, 2023
I guess this was close enough to home they realized what an oppositional government could do to the vast network of left wing advocacy groups if this was allowed to stand.
Now do Trump— Curtis (@BwsCurtis) December 9, 2023
ACLU continued on X: "If the Supreme Court doesn't intervene, it will create a dangerous playbook for state regulatory agencies across the country to blacklist or punish any viewpoint-based organizations — from abortion rights groups to environmental groups or even ACLU affiliates."
Read the NRA's petition seeking Supreme Court review below: