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During the confirmation process of John Roberts for chief justice of the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union emerged as a leader among the anti-Roberts crowd.

The day President Bush announced the nomination, before thousands of pages of records were requested, much less released, the ACLU immediately expressed “deep concern about some of the civil-liberties positions advocated by Judge John Roberts.” Later they encouraged the Senate Judiciary Committee to “fully probe his record” and again expressed “serious concerns” about Roberts’ record.

While intelligent people can disagree over whether or not Judge Roberts is ideal for the Supreme Court, the ACLU had little credibility in this debate.

The ACLU likes to project itself as a patriotic organization patrolling the Constitution to protect our cherished rights. The reality, however, is almost the opposite.

Early in its history, the ACLU’s narrow ideological agenda was shaped by America’s leftist movement, which set out to use the broad rights guaranteed by the Constitution to reshape our republic. The ACLU’s original goal was to protect revolutionary radicals, including Soviet agents, through civil-liberties rulings.

Until Stalin joined Hitler, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin was an outspoken admirer of the Soviet system. As I mentioned in a previous column, he once wrote, “I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

Baldwin spoke highly of his visits to the Soviet Union, even as the regime there was killing millions. He pushed his extreme – and cynical – view of civil liberties at the same time the Soviet Union recognized no civil liberties at all. “Repressions in Soviet Russia are weapons of struggle in a transition period to socialism,” he claimed.

The ACLU hasn’t strayed far from such foundations.

True to its discredited old-Left template, the ACLU still seeks to destroy the traditional family – and with it American culture. It’s reflected in lawsuits across the country in which the ACLU argues that the state – not parents – should have ultimate control over children.

The group has supported other groups that force children to be exposed to sex “education” seminars, such as the “Hot, Sexy and Safer” presentation in Massachusetts where young students heard sexual acts described in graphic detail – without parental consent. A teenage boy was even encouraged to lick a condom in front of his peers.

The ACLU’s response to the anger of parents? The Constitution “does not mention the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.” This bizarre twisting of the Constitution is a direct assault on the freedom of parents to raise their children according to their values.

Undermining values that contribute to a healthy society is an ACLU goal. The organization has defended the North American Man-Boy Love Association after two convicted pedophiles accessed information on NAMBLA’s website on how to seduce and sodomize young boys. The ACLU supported NAMBLA’s “right” to post this information, which the two men used to seduce, rape and murder an innocent 10-year-old boy.

The group has also used its legal streetfighters to defend individual pedophiles. In Lafayette, Ind., the ACLU represented a thrice-convicted child molester. The man admitted he had been cruising public parks and fantasizing about children there. When the mayor sought a restraining order to ban him from the parks, the ACLU found a sympathetic judge to restore his “right” to prowl the park, claiming the order was “discriminatory.”

Americans may be split on the subject of whether or not abortion should be legal. But the ACLU believes that some people have the right to kill infants even after they are born. In Indiana’s “Baby Doe” case, the ACLU defended parents who let their baby starve to death after it was born with Down syndrome.

Sometimes the ACLU is even explicit about its disdain for democracy. After Alaskans overwhelmingly voted for an amendment affirming heterosexual marriage, former ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser remarked, “Today’s results prove that certain fundamental issues should not be left up to a majority vote.”

In all these examples, the ACLU shows clear contempt for the views of the majority of Americans.

One could say it is only because of the greatness of America – its tradition of tolerance born of religious tolerance – that an organization like the ACLU operates here.

But the ACLU is hardly a torchbearer for American democracy. Its insights into who should or shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court belong not in the mainstream press, but on the pages of a ranting ideological pamphlet yellowing in some old-Left bookstore.

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