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May 10, 1985 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, May 10, 1985

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State Of The Union

Continued from preceding page

idea, leaves one convinced of habit of protecting the rights
the sincerity of the ACLU's of the little guy."
While in the House, Forbes
causes and goals. But critics
charge that the group is enlisted the ACLU's help on a
hopelessly out of step with the number of issues, including
times and unable to focus on measures on abortion and the
battle against a state Con-
the larger picture.
"All of these people say stitutional convention.
Simon also bristles at the
there's plenty to do," Charles
Morgan Jr., the former Wash- charge that his organization's
current agenda is stale and
ington director of the ACLU
told the New York Times re- outdated. "No battle for civil
cently. "What is it? I don't see rights ever stays won," he is
fond of saying, echoing the
it?"
Morgan, who left the civil 1920s credo of ACLU founder
rights organization in the Baldwin.
"The battles have to be
mid-1970s and returned to a
lucrative private law practice, fought over and over and over
feels that the need for the
ACLU has long passed, that
"there is no burning cause out ACLU officials insist
there that goes unrepre-
that their agency is
sented."
In Michigan, there are those nonpartisan and
who, despite a great deal of re- non-ideological,
spect for Howard Simon as an
individual, offer stinging although they
critiques of the ACLU and concede that their
what it professes to be fighting
stands often coincide
for.
with those of liberals.
"It seems like the ACLU has
made as its life's work the pro-
tection of pinkos, Nazis and
pornographers," State Sen.
Alan Copsey (R-Livingston again. Look at prayer in the
Co.) says. "I think they are - schools. That fight is still
somewhat hypocritcal in the going on more than 20 years
way they go about defending after the Supreme Court sup-
the Constitution. They yell posedly decided the issue."
A decade of work for the civil
censorship if you try to blot out
obscenity, but if a child wants rights agency has left its mark
to pray in school, they say on the former college profes-
sor. So much so that Simon
that's unconstitutional."
says he doesn't mind at all the
Sen. Cropsey, who co-
prospect of spending the bal-
authored the stringent anti-
ance of his life "doing unpopu-
pornography law passed by
lar work, defending unpopular
the State Senate earlier this
people and fighting for un-
year only to see portions of it
struck down in the Michigan popular causes.
"I've been very lucky to be
courts with the help of the
able to do this for the last ten
ACLU, has no personal
years. Working in a field that
animosity towards Simon. But
deals with important issues
the legislator says he can't
involving people's rights as
find much personal use for an
human beings, that deals with
organization that "sets itself
the development of public pol-
up as the supreme arbiter of
icy — I don't think that I would
the Constitution."
ever really want to get very far
Detractors also feel that the from that."
civil rights group embraces an
Besides, Simon realizes that
outdated liberal political given the controversy inher-
agenda. ACLU officials insist ent to a position such as his,
that their agency is nonparti- there are certain career op-
san and non-ideological, al- tions which may now be off
though they concede that their limits. "After he says,
stands more often than not "one doesn't spend time being
coincide with those of liberals.
vilified in the press and read-
And despite the pendulum's ing hate mail and then rush to
swing to the right during the run for public office."
1980s, Simon's ACLU is not
without supporters in Michi-
gan political circles. "The
Gays' Speaker
ACLU is still a very valid and
Washington — Congressman
needed forum," according to
Barney
Frank (D-Mass.) will be
Joseph Forbes, former Major-
featured as the keynote speaker
ity Leader in the Michigan before the Ninth International
House of Representatives. "It's
Conference of Gay and Lesbian
one of the few organizations
Jews, June 6, 1985 in Washing-
still in existence that makes a ton, D.C.

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