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ACLU of Michigan

UM-Dearborn restler Marina Goocher
Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

The organization that oversees college wrestling at the club sports level is standing by its policy forbidding co-ed wrestling in sanctioned competitions.

Marina Goocher is a junior at the University of Michigan –Dearborn. She's the only woman on the school's club wrestling team, and the only female wrestler in the league's Midwest conference of schools.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

She wants to wrestle with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s team, but the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) says its rules are clear: “Women wrestle women, men wrestle men in practice and competition. Period.”

Now wrestler Marina Goocher has the ACLU on her side in her fight to compete against the men. That includes staff attorney Bonsitu Kitaba with the ACLU of Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A class-action lawsuit claiming state and local education officials are not doing enough to identify and educate Flint students exposed to lead-tainted tap water is moving forward.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow brushed aside almost all the legal motions offered by attorneys for the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District seeking to dismiss the suit.

gavel
Blogtrepreneur / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Judges are required to suspend your driver's license if you're unable to pay court debts in Michigan, one of just five states to do that, according to a new report. 

The Legal Aid Justice Center's nationwide report says the practice unfairly punishes poor people by taking away their ability to drive legally. Some states are beginning to rethink this practice.

According to the report, about 100,000 people in Michigan currently have their licenses suspended for inability to pay court fees.

A new study shows that as many as 85% of homes in Detroit might have been taxed at rates that violate the Michigan Constitution.
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

church exterior
Flickr user: richevenhouse

The Michigan Court of Appeals has put a lawsuit regarding state money for private schools on hold while it decides who can be part of it.

The court will decide whether a group of Republican lawmakers and Catholic school parents can challenge Michigan’s ban on public money for private schools. And they want to join the lawsuit as defendants, not plaintiffs.

Water faucent in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund are calling for Flint City Council and Mayor Karen Weaver to suspend any efforts to impose liens on homes where resident's haven't paid their water bills. Those liens could eventually give the city the right to sell off the home if the debt isn't paid back. 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is offering its opposition to Grand Rapids' plans to use license plate scanning technology for parking enforcement.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the ACLU of Michigan's western region unit sent a letter to city officials this week, saying that the scanners are another piece of surveillance technology that reduces "personal privacy rights and empowers the surveillance society."

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The American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection, alleging the agency failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request. 

The ACLU branch is seeking documentation outlining the "on-the-ground" implementation of President Trump's first executive order that temporarily banned immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.  The group says the government has failed to substantively respond to the request. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union is objecting to a Michigan school district's restroom policy for transgender students.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that transgender students in the Jenison district must use a gender-neutral restroom, staff restrooms or restrooms that match their gender assigned at birth.

Various social media posts have accused Jenison of banning transgender students from restrooms that match their gender identity.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

ACLU sign
Slightly North / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump and federal agencies are being sued in Detroit over his revised ban on travel to the U.S. by people from six predominantly Muslim countries.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Arab-American Civil Rights League. The plaintiffs include nine people whose family members can't travel to the U.S.

Hundreds of lawyers attend ACLU summit

Feb 4, 2017
Lawyers filled UM's Hutchins Hall to standing-room-only for the ACLU lawyers summit Saturday
Tyler Scott

More than 400 attorneys attended a “lawyers summit” hosted by the ACLU of Michigan on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor Saturday.

Robbie Gaines is an attorney from Detroit who practices automotive liability law and attended the summit. He credits his fiancé, also a lawyer, with igniting his involvement with the ACLU of Michigan. However, Gaines says he believes a broad swath of Americans see President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration as an attack on American values.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, state and federal officials meet in Chicago to discuss the latest data on Flint’s water crisis.

Critics of the state’s handling of the Flint water crisis say they don’t want to hear the city’s tap water is safe to drink once again.

Flint’s water became contaminated with lead after the city’s water source was switched to the Flint River.   Improperly treated river water damaged city pipes. 

Border stop.
bbmcshane / flickr

Border agents can stop and search anyone within 100 miles of an international border, without a warrant. The American Civil Liberties Union and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center doesn't like this.

The ACLU and MIRC are suing the U.S. government over these warrantless searches. Both groups want border agencies to be more transparent about their searches.

Miriam Aukerman, the west Michigan regional staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, said the lawsuit is really about holding the government accountable.

Students holding signs at a protest outside of Ford Hall on Eastern Michigan University's campus.
Bryce Huffman

UPDATED @ 5:46 pm on 11/18/2016

Eastern Michigan University has delivered a punishment to four student protestors, but the ACLU wants the disciplinary action to be dropped.

The four African American students were protesting racist graffiti targeting Black students discovered on campus earlier this fall at EMU.

The students broke the school's student code of conduct by staging a sit in at the Student Center after hours, which yielded the threat of expulsion.

Prison wall
Microsoft Images

Michigan prosecutors are continuing their resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue of juvenile life sentences without parole.

The Supreme Court already ruled that denying parole to juvenile lifers is unconstitutional, except in the rarest of cases.

The ACLU is suing Michigan over the state's vague standards for denying parole to juvenile lifers.

Daniel Korobkin, the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU of Michigan, says the state is being stubborn in terms of following the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Like their national counterparts, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Planned Parenthood of Michigan  have seen dramatic increases in contributions  in the week since Election Day to help them fight any efforts by the Trump administration to undermine their causes.  

"Given the very overt threats to our work and the women we serve throughout the campaign, people turned to Planned Parenthood and felt like what they could do is offer their time and their resources," said Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

U.S. Supreme Court justice denies state's appeal to block sex offender ruling

Nov 15, 2016
Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has rejected Michigan's request to put a hold on a lower court decision about the state's sex offender registry law while the state appeals.

Kagan denied on Tuesday Attorney General Bill Schuette's emergency appeal for a stay.

A federal appeals court ruled in August that Michigan unconstitutionally puts additional restrictions on sex offenders long after their convictions.

ACLU Michigan

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint against a Flint-area Catholic hospital with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

The complaint says Ascension Health and its subsidiary, Genesys Health System, would not allow doctors to perform a medically necessary tubal ligation on a pregnant woman with a brain tumor.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal class action lawsuit to force fixes to Flint’s problem-plagued school district.

Flint’s public schools struggled even before the city’s lead-tainted tap water threatened to negatively affect the development of its students.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will announce plans for a new class action lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis.

The ACLU’s new lawsuit will focus on the education rights of Flint area school-age children and what is needed to ensure their right to free and quality education.

A Michigan State Police file photo.
Michigan State Police

State police will now be required to document the race of people they stop.

This change comes after the ACLU of Michigan recently expressed concern about possible racial profiling in an open letter to the Michigan State Police.

State officers have quotas for traffic stops and arrests, but they haven’t been required to document the race of who they stop in their daily electronic logs.

ACLU sign
Slightly North / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The ACLU is urging Battle Creek officials to reject proposed anti-panhandling laws.

The civil liberties group sent the Battle Creek city commission a letter discouraging proposals that would regulate solicitation and panhandling.

Battle Creek city officials wrote the so-called "aggressive solicitation" proposals, based largely on complaints from local business owners and residents.

Miriam Aukerman is with the ACLU of Michigan and she says it's not illegal to ask for help.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report suggests it’s getting harder to get reproductive health care at Michigan hospitals.

A series of hospital mergers in recent years means more hospitals in Michigan are part of a Catholic health system.

Jim Renaud / Creative Commons

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit the ACLU filed in 2015 against a Roman Catholic hospital group. The lawsuit challenged the hospital group’s anti-abortion policy.

Livonia-based Trinity Health operates 86 facilities in 21 states.

The ACLU alleges pregnant women who develop complications are being discriminated against at Trinity’s hospitals because the Catholic health group won't terminate pregnancies.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A couple of organizations suing the state over the Flint water crisis want people to have better access to safe drinking water on a daily basis. They are asking a federal judge to order the state to either deliver bottled water, or send professionals to install water filters at every home in Flint.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before Flint's water problems were widely known to the public, Snyder administration officials spent a lot of time emailing back and forth about the city and its water. 

We wouldn't know that if the governor hadn't voluntarily released batches of emails. That’s because he and the Legislature are exempt from Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

But that could change.

Wikimedia

As more of the nation’s attention is focused on police shootings, more police departments are putting body-worn cameras on their officers.

The idea is to improve relations and trust between police and the community.

But bodycams raise some sticky questions about balancing transparency and respecting privacy.

What caused the Flint water crisis?
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of activist organizations filed a complaint in federal court Wednesday morning against Michigan government officials alleging the state has violated the Safe Drinking Water Act during the Flint water crisis.

The suit, filed by the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, the ACLU of Michigan, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and Melissa Mays, a Flint resident, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

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