October 22, 2008

ACLU forum to explore election and Constitution

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A local forum next week will look at the upcoming Nov. 4 election and the U.S. Constitution.

The discussion, “The Election and the Constitution: A Local ACLU Forum,” is at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28, in room 204 of the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus. Admission is free, and the forum is open to the public.

Allie Carter, the senior field manager for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, will speak about the election and the U.S. Constitution. The Southern Illinois chapter of the ACLU and the SIU School of Law are event co-sponsors.

Carter develops and implements field strategies in support of the ACLU’s legislative and legal priorities, with particular emphasis on the areas of national security, reproductive justice, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights. She also writes for the ACLU Insider blog at http://www.aclu-il.org/blog.

Carter previously served for two years as the project manager for Equal Marriage Illinois and helped to direct in 2004 the successful challenge of a referendum designed to prevent gay marriage. She served for three years as a community organizer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, West Africa. She also worked as a field organizer on Oregon’s successful 1999 “No on Nine” campaign, which defeated an anti-gay rights constitutional amendment.

Carter will be “discussing important Constitutional issues at stake this November -- and how to keep the fight to protect the Bill of Rights alive after the election,” she said. “We’ll discuss national issues, including warrant-less wiretapping and torture, and introduce the Illinois Freedom Agenda -- the ACLU’s plan for restoring and defending the Constitution nationally and here in Illinois.”

The Freedom Agenda aims to pass critical legislation, reform inadequate and unfair government practices, and extend protections to all Illinoisans.

In particular, the Freedom Agenda hopes to:

  • Protect vulnerable persons, including those who are institutionalized in the custody of the State of Illinois -- children, the developmentally disabled and mentally ill -- who face inhumane, violent or abusive living conditions.
  • End racial profiling, biased consent searches, the arbitrary use of drug-sniffing dogs and other long-standing discriminatory law-enforcement practices.
  • Win full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in Illinois.
  • Ensure individuals and not the government make private medical decisions, including decisions about abortion.
  • Defend freedom of expression and protect all Illinoisans from unlawful surveillance.

For more information about the forum, contact law professor Leonard Gross at 618/453-8770, or via email at lgross@siu.edu.

For more information about the Illinois Freedom Agenda, visit, http://action.aclu.org/ILFreedomAgenda