ACLU puts limits on defending extremists gathering with guns

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After Charlottesville, the ACLU takes another look at free speech and violence.

White supremacists clash with counter protesters at a
rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017.
Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

In 1934, Jewish lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union famously defended the free speech of Nazis in the United States. In 1978, the ACLU supported a Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois, even though it was home to many holocaust survivors. Last week's Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville took place after the ACLU defended its right to a permit when authorities tried to deny it. In the aftermath, California affiliates of the ACLU are saying, "White supremacist violence is not free speech." Matt Pearce, who reports for the Los Angeles Times, says the civil rights group will no longer defend white supremacists who come to rallies armed and prepared to incite violence.




Warren Olney