“Justice in Action” and “Dissent & Democracy” are the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s programs serving as our two-pronged approach towards achieving the goals set forth by our mission. By utilizing education, and when necessary, the courts, the Civil Liberties Defense Center is distinctly able to both proactively and reactively challenge governmental attacks on our liberties and rights. Additionally, as a smaller organization, we have the power of flexibility that enables us to spring into action to address immediate needs of our constituents, tailoring our responses accordingly.
Through Justice in Action, our litigation program, the Civil Liberties Defense Center provides free legal representation or referrals to peace activists, environmental and animal rights activists, immigrants’ rights activists, marriage equality activists, and others involved in progressive social change. Of the numerous requests the CLDC receives, we accept cases with the most potential to effect systemic change beyond the individual case, and to serve communities with difficulty obtaining excellent legal representation. Whether by successfully representing a mosque in a challenge to the FBI’s attempt to subpoena religious records after September 11, or by providing continual assistance with legal representation and referrals of the “Green Scare” defendants and grand jury witnesses, the Civil Liberties Defense Center excels in precedent-setting cases and impact litigation in order to protect constitutional rights.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center is entrenched in the fight against the government’s abuse of the “terrorist” label. Alarmingly, many of the attacks on our civil liberties after September 11, 2001, are just now coming to fruition. For the first time in the history of our democracy, the government has attempted to expand the definition of “terrorism” to include crimes involving property damage alone and has attempted to portray civil disobedience, such as picketing, as “terrorism” for purposes of increasing punishment and chilling citizen activism. The CLDC challenges this abusive labeling in the courtroom, in the international media, and through public education.