ACLU for First Time Ever Takes Position on Recall Election – Decides to Oppose September Governor Recall

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The Vanguard Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA – The ACLU – for the first time ever – has taken a position on a recall election, the Gubernatorial Recall this September: its chapter voted to oppose the recall for civil rights and civil liberties reasons.

Bucking what the ACLU has never done since its state inception in 1923 – a century ago – the executive directors of the ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California and ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and the board chair of ACLU California Action issued a joint statement in strong opposition to the gubernatorial recall.

The ACLU insisted its position to oppose the recall is “not a partisan action.”

“In its 98 years in California, the ACLU has never endorsed or opposed a candidate during an election and is not doing so now,” said Norma Chávez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

“The ACLU opposes this recall effort because it aims to reverse advances in immigrants’ rights, gender equity, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, criminal justice reform and students’ rights. With so much at stake, we will not be silent,” Chávez-Peterson added.

“This stance is in response to the recall petition’s text, which at its core is an attack on people’s civil rights and liberties, including immigrants’ rights, gender equity, racial justice and LGBTQ rights, said the ACLU in a statement late last week.

“You have to look no further than this recall petition to know that this is about thwarting civil rights and civil liberties in California,” said Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. “The forces behind this recall would turn back the clock on hard-won advances that expand, not contract, rights.”

“We are united in urging California voters to say ‘NO’ to our state sliding backward to a time when constitutional freedoms and other legal protections were in effect only for select groups within our richly diverse population,” argued Connie Tcheng, board chair of ACLU California Action. “The ACLU’s California affiliates call upon our members and all Californians, to reject this ill-conceived recall.”

The ACLU called out those who insist the governor’s COVID-19 response is the reason for the recall.

“The pandemic is only a smokescreen,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. “It’s the convenient hook that sponsors of this recall have latched onto. But there have been no less than five efforts to recall this governor, including one that was attempted just two months after he took office, long before the pandemic began.”

The recall, maintains the ACLU, seeks to “undermine public support for policies the ACLU has long fought for and most Californians support… These issues have long been a priority for the ACLU’s California affiliates. The organization has fought hard to expand rights and address the repercussions of decades of non-inclusive, outdated and unjustly biased policies.”

The ACLU cited:

  • “Immigrants’ Rights: At risk are policies that have afforded people, regardless of status, the rights of due process, and the right to be safe and move freely in their communities, workplaces, hospitals, schools, and places of worship.

“The recall petition specifically attacks state laws that limit local collaboration with federal immigration agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), that go to great lengths to tear apart families and even deport U.S. military veterans.”

  • “Criminal Justice Reform: In the face of over-policing, mass incarceration and a justice system that weighs heavily against people of color, the ACLU and advocacy organizations across the state have fought to revise and/or repeal time-worn laws, hold law enforcement to greater scrutiny, prohibit new contracts for private, for-profit prisons, and end the death penalty.

“The recall petition specifically supports the death penalty, which the ACLU believes to be inherently in violation of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”

  • Gender, Sexuality & Reproductive Justice: The recall petition cites a bogus notion that California is limiting parental rights and the campaign argument misleadingly calls California’s sex education requirement ‘controversial.’

“In fact, an overwhelming majority of California parents support the medically accurate, LGBTQ-inclusive sex education now taught in our public schools.”

 

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13 thoughts on “ACLU for First Time Ever Takes Position on Recall Election – Decides to Oppose September Governor Recall”

  1. David Greenwald

    Editor’s Note: This topic is not open for general discussion on the recall.  Topics for possible discussion: the ACLU’s position and the three policy areas cited: criminal justice reform, immigration and gender identity/ health.  Topics that are off-topic will be promptly removed.

  2. Keith Olsen

    “In its 98 years in California, the ACLU has never endorsed or opposed a candidate during an election and is not doing so now,” 

    Ummm, it kinda is.

  3. Rick Entrikin

    This commentary by the Vanguard “staff” and proclamation by the the Executive Editor, should have been in the second spot of today’s blog, just below the piece on “Advocacy Journalism.”   The ACLU made a historic decision to take a position on a California recall election, in this case opposing an effort to recall the Democrat governor, admitting that their decision was based on his support of a progressive (some might say, socialist), partisan agenda, even while claiming that it was not a partisan decision.  

    Yet tens of thousands of Vanguard readers are prohibited from commenting on the recall election, because the Executive Editor has deemed it off limits – amazingly – in an article about the recall election!   All of this, at the same time the Editor wonders why so many people (including millions upon millions who likely  do not watch FOX) mistrust the “news media?”   Perhaps hypocrisy?  

    To be fair, the ACLU also seems to set limits.   And, also hypocritically, their support of social justice seems to include the Democrat governor, but not the millions of California citizens and businesses whose civil rights have been trampled on, by one “emergency” proclamation after another  for nearly 1.5 years.

    1. David Greenwald

      The reason why is that – this was a very specific article that could have been discussed specifically. If you want to submit an article on the recall election, Rick, I will be very happy to publish it. But it is kind of important to note – we are not covering the recall, we are covering criminal justice reform and that’s why this was published.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Topics for possible discussion: the ACLU’s position and the THREE policy areas cited: criminal justice reform, immigration and gender identity/ health. 

        For all three to be ‘threatened’ by a ‘successful’ recall vote… not sure I buy that — particularly with both House of A legislature being super-majority Democrat… I can see where you and ACLU might see it that way, though…

        1. David Greenwald

          Reasonable point Bill.  I don’t necessarily agree with the ACLU here – was a little surprised to see them take this step – I’m sitting back and watching to see what happens with the Governor’s recall as well as Chesa Boudin and perhaps Gascon in LA.  I’m curious to see where this is all going.

        2. Bill Marshall

          I can see one of the ‘replacement candidates’, being a strong advocate on the gender identity/health piece… as to the other issues, it’s as clear as mud.

          It appears ACLU made assumptions that only a Democrat governor can/would be willing to move the football on any of the issues… I’m not so clear on that…

          ACLU saying (insisting) it is based on ‘values’, and not ‘partisanship’, are on shaky ground. Ethically…  but, ‘the die is cast’, and we’ll see how it will play out… forty-fifty years ago, I was a dues payer to ACLU… not for 35-30 years now… in the latter times, they played their hand mainly on arguably ‘partisan’ actions… and using ‘values’ as a smoke-screen… “this is not your father’s ACLU”… it has morphed.

          1. David Greenwald

            Given that most of the top recall candidates have vowed to roll back CJR, I think you have not sufficiently studied this particular issue.

            Anne Dunsmore, campaign manager for the pro-recall organization Rescue California, said Newsom and the state’s Democratic legislative leadership, though their progressive policies on criminal justice, have “misled the public into believing that their so-called reforms will make us safer.”

      2. Rick Entrikin

        Thank you for your courtesy, David, but I have no desire to write an article about the recall.  In fact, I’m really not that interested in the topic.

        What I am interested in is accurate, balanced reporting.  And, if you or your staff, choose to express your opinions or advocate for a cause or policy, that’s fine – it’s your publication and your right.  BUT, as an “old school” reader and writer (and scientist, to boot), I firmly believe that opinions should be based on facts.

        Here you claim that you don’t want people to comment on the recall (Looks like it worked!), because “we are not covering the recall, we are covering criminal justice reform and that’s why this was published.”

        What on earth are you talking about?   READ the claims attributed to the ACLU in your “very specific article.”  The ACLU made the following statements as the factual basis for their decision (which, in turn, is the basis for your article):

        “The recall, maintains the ACLU, seeks to…”

        “The recall petition specifically attacks state laws….”

        “The recall petition specifically supports….”

        “The recall petition cites a bogus notion….”

        How can any reasonably intelligent person comment on your article without talking about the recall election in light of the claims made by the ACLU?   READ them: “recall petition, recall petition…,”   Those form the basis of the ACLU decision, yet your article gives no indication about whether or not those claims are accurate (or even IN the petition) and you, the Editor, prohibit readers from commenting on the recall.  Indefensible.

        As I wrote before, the ACLU story belongs right up there  with your piece on advocacy journalism.

    2. Ron Oertel

      Excellent analysis, Rick. And an interesting point, regarding “trampling of civil rights” in another way.

      Also, the unusual restriction that David has implemented here has effectively silenced a discussion that has broader interest.

      Last time I checked, the Vanguard still claimed to cover issues other than criminal justice reform.

       

  4. Bill Marshall

    Given that most of the top recall candidates have vowed to roll back CJR, I think you have not sufficiently studied this particular issue.

    And, yet, State Assembly and Senate, are where legislation originates, can counter it, or move even more ‘progressively’… and possibly over-ride a veto attempt… getting back to my earlier point.

    Said my pieces… it will be what it will be… remember the NPP ‘party’ is now the second largest in CA… and both other “parties” have been losing ground…

    1. David Greenwald

      Except that the Death Penalty moratorium is Governor sponsored. Prison releases can be done through executive order. Clemency and Pardons are governor initiated.

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