NEW YORK– In response to reporting that the national office of the ACLU has decided to directly represent the National Rifle Association (NRA) before the United States Supreme Court in National Rifle Association v. Vullo, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“The NYCLU strongly disagrees with the ACLU’s decision to directly represent and therefore provide direct support to the NRA. We will not be participating in this case even though it comes out of New York. The NYCLU remains committed to defending the speech rights of those whose messages we abhor, but nothing in this case requires direct representation of the NRA: The important First Amendment issue in the case is well-established, the NRA is one of the most powerful organizations in the country and has sophisticated counsel, and representing the NRA directly risks enormous harm to the clients and communities the ACLU and NYCLU work with and serve.
“The NRA is a chief driver of the gun violence problem devastating communities throughout the country. This violence is an existential threat to racial justice and the exercise of our democracy, two of the ACLU and NYCLU’s core values. Armed intimidation of voters, election officials, and peaceful protestors by vigilantes is now normalized, particularly threatening people of color. The NYCLU has spent years building deep partnerships with communities and advocates, including young people and people of color, who face the greatest threat of gun violence and are working to end it.
“The NRA is among the most powerful advocacy organizations in the country, with resources to secure the nation’s finest lawyers. It does not need the ACLU to volunteer for that job. We remain a proud affiliate of the ACLU, but in this moment the NYCLU respectfully dissents.”