Last updated on: 11/11/2008 | Author:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Biography

Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“It [capital punishment] is immoral in principle, and unfair and discriminatory in practice … No one deserves to die. When the government metes out vengeance disguised as justice, it becomes complicit with killers in devaluing human life and human dignity.

In civilized society, we reject the principle of literally doing to criminals what they do to their victims: The penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist’s house. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death… Capital punishment is a barbaric remnant of uncivilized society.”

“The Death Penalty: Questions and Answers,” ACLU website, Apr. 9, 2007


“The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

ACLU website (accessed Sep. 1, 2006)


“The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

  • Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
  • Your right to due process – fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy – freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.”
    In addition, the ACLU is guided in its mission by the principle that:

…[T]he American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.”

ACLU website (accessed Sep. 1, 2006)

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Quoted in:
  1. Is the Death Penalty Immoral?
  2. Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?
  3. Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?