ACLU Forum on U.S. Supreme Court Highlights National Security and Personal Freedom Threats
September 29, 2004
Honolulu - The U.S. Supreme Court opens its 2004 term next Monday and the ACLU of Hawai'i is offering a public forum to raise awareness about the impact of Court decisions on daily American life. National ACLU legal director Steven Shapiro will keynote the October 30 event which is free to the public.
"The decisions made by the highest court in the nation often have an enormous effect on the daily lives of ordinary citizens. The forum will offer the general public a close look at how the Court deals with preserving both cherished rights and government interests such as the Patriot Act," said executive director Vanessa Chong.
Chong cited, as an example, a ruling by a federal court today in New York which struck down an entire Patriot Act provision that gives the government unchecked authority to issue "National Security Letters" to obtain sensitive customer records from Internet Service Providers and other businesses without judicial oversight. The court also found a broad gag provision in the law to be an "unconstitutional prior restraint" on free speech.
The ACLU has been at the forefront nationally in challenging the government's campaign to broaden its surveillance, detention and prosecutorial powers since 9/11. The ACLU appears before the Supreme Court more than any other organization except the federal government. Shapiro directly supervises the extensive litigation activities of the ACLU before the Supreme Court. He is also an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School, specializing in free speech issues.
Created in 1920 in response to violations of civil liberties such as the jailing of opponents to World War I, the ACLUšs mission is to defend the Bill of Rights through legislative, litigation and public education programs.
The law firm of Paul Johnson Park and Niles is underwriting Shapirošs visit.
The event will be held at Central Union Church Parish Hall from 10:00 a.m. 12 noon. Registration opens at 10:00 a.m. Reservations are required. Call 522-5906 or email
Forum on U.S. Supreme Court Highlights National Security and Personal Freedoms Threats