Don’t Look Now But the ACLU is Back

by Kerry Dougherty

Anyone remember how active Virginia’s ACLU — that’s the American Civil Liberties Union — was during Gov. Ralph Northam’s dictatorial Covid reign?

Did this organization sprint into court seeking injunctions when the governor ordered churches and synagogues closed? When he arbitrarily closed businesses? When he told Virginians how many guests they could have in their own homes?

Can anyone recall these crack lawyers who supposedly care deeply about the civil liberties of Americans saying a word of protest when the Democrat governor merrily stomped all over the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens from Virginia Beach to Bristol?

The answer is a resounding NO.

This once bold organization that in 1978 famously defended the right of repulsive neo-Nazis to march through a predominately Jewish neighborhood in Skokie, Illinois to exercise their First Amendment rights, because dammit, the ACLU believed in the U.S. Constitution, sucked its thumb through the most egregious infringements on civil liberties in recent memory.

Have no fear, the ACLU is back! This sleepy organization has crawled out of its bunker and is now fighting to get violent criminals out of Virginia prisons.

After losing its case in Albemarle County Circuit Court, the Virginia chapter of the ACLU now vows to ask the Virginia Supreme Court to spring Antoine Anderson immediately. Anderson, 45, is serving a 13-year sentence for abduction, attempted escape and two counts of assault on correctional officers, and is due for release in April of 2024.

A news story in the Virginia Mercury notes that:

Back in 2020, when the Democrats had complete control of Richmond, the General Assembly passed a bill increasing the amount of time an inmate could shave from his or her sentence. Since 1995, good time stood at 4.5 days earned for every 30 days served.

The soft-on-crime party increased that to 15 days for every 30 served, meaning that thousands of inmates would get out of prison early. That reportedly included 43 murderers. This was a clever way to circumvent Virginia’s no-parole laws.

Last summer, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and GOP lawmakers in the House of Delegates used a budget amendment to exclude violent criminals from the early release program. Three Democrats in the Virginia Senate joined in the common-sense vote.

As it stands, about 3,000 non-violent prisoners are still seeing their sentences reduced. But another 550 who thought they had earned enhanced good time credits are not.

These violent criminals are reportedly “sad” and “disappointed.”

Enter the ACLU. Did I mention this organization was dormant when ordinary, decent Virginians were being oppressed by state government?

ACLU lawyers filed suit on behalf of Anderson who was reportedly serving time on drug charges when he took part in an escape scheme that ended with prison guards being assaulted, bound and held in cells.

The ACLU, the organization that yawned when you couldn’t leave your home after midnight, bury your dead mother, or host a family Christmas party, desperately wants to get this man out of prison early.

Like the governor and most ordinary decent Virginians, I side with public safety over violent prisoners.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.