• The NYCLU is established in response to McCarthy era attacks on civil liberties.


• Lawsuit ends required recitation of prayer in schools.


• Defends political expression in the burning of draft cards and the war in Vietnam.


• Leads effort that legalizes abortion in New York

• Lawsuit enables busing to achieve school integration in Buffalo.


• Case establishes students’ right to hearings when threatened with suspension.

• Landmark Willowbrook case establishes comprehensive treatment standards for people living with mental disabilities.


• Lawsuit achieves guidelines and reporting requirements for NYPD’s surveillance of political activities.


• Wins U.S. Supreme Court ruling that students and parents can challenge school boards that remove library books they deem “offensive.”


• Lawsuit ends the Board of Education’s system of awarding scholarships based solely on SAT scores, which advantaged male students.


• Brings successful challenge that ends censorship of HIV/AIDS education in public schools.


• Through 2001, successfully challenges 27 unconstitutional Giuiliani administration restrictions of First Amendment rights.


• Wins the release of government records documenting torture of detainees at U.S. military sites and secret CIA detention facilities.


• After nearly a decade of advocacy, death penalty is abolished in New York

• Lawsuit stops NYPD from restricting demonstrations at 2004 Republication National Convention


• After more than 30 years of advocacy, NYCLU celebrates historic reforms of the state’s notorious Rockefeller drug sentencing laws.


• Landmark case demanding reforms to NYS failing public defense system

• NYCLU advocacy leads to basic labor protections for domestic workers though the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

• Challenges police abuse in NYC schools and helps pass the Dignity for All Students Act, a law to prevent bullying and bias-based harassment in schools.


• NYCLU advocacy helps same-sex couples finally win the freedom to marry in New York

• Student Safety Act is signed into law, requiring regular, public reporting by both the NYPD and Department of Education on school arrests and suspensions.


• NYCLU launches acclaimed Stop & Frisk Watch app, allowing citizens to record abuse by the NYPD on mobile phones and easily submit video.

• Bloomberg administration agrees to end unlawful stop-and-frisk of passengers in livery cabs


• NYCLU files class action suit Ligon v. City of New York challenging abusive stop-and-frisk in private buildings participating in NYC’s Clean Halls program.

• U.S. Supreme Court ruling ends discrimination against lesbian and gay couples when determining federal benefits and protections.


Peoples v. Fisher settlement leads to historic reforms of solitary confinement in New York state.

Hurrell-Harring v. New York settlement overhauls public defense services in five counties and lays groundwork for statewide reform.


Dignity for All report exposes discrimination against trans and gender nonconforming students and leads Education Department to issue new guidance protecting students’ rights.

• New state laws protect against unequal pay, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment at work.


• Bipartisan public defense reform legislation unanimously passes state legislature.

• NYPD agrees to end discriminatory and unjustified surveillance of Muslims.

• Attorney General clarifies that women in New York have the right to abortion care consistent with Roe v. Wade despite outmoded state law