1977 July 20

ACLU Faults President Carter’s Civil Liberties Record During His First Six Months

 

On this day, the ACLU accused President Jimmy Carter of “a poor civil liberties record” during his first six months in office. It accused the president of failing to exercise leadership and stand up to Congressional threats to civil liberties. In the national security area, it continued, Carter had abandoned the critical positions he took as a candidate and no longer supported strong controls over the intelligence agencies. On the positive side, it praised his policies on amnesty for Vietnam War protesters, school desegregation, freedom of information, voter registration and human rights.

In retrospect, compared with Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford who preceded him (1969–1977) and Ronald Reagan who followed him (1981–1989), President Carter’s record on civil liberties looks far better than this early ACLU report indicated.

On President Carter’s civil liberties record, read: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Obama to Wilson (2012)

Learn more about Carter’s post-presidential work at the Carter Center: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

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