If progressives had their way, the ACLU's latest challenge to the NSA's domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed. ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU's First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to "natural persons."
"The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities," the popular People's Rights Amendment declares.
I have repeatedly stressed the dangers of an amendment limiting constitutional rights to "natural persons," noting that it would deprive every non-profit, citizens advocacy group as well as small and large businesses of both First and Fourth Amendment rights, exposing them to warrantless searches and outright censorship of political speech. ACLU v Clapper makes clear that these threats to civil liberty are not theoretical.
The ACLU (including its New York affiliate) is not just the lawyer but the plaintiff in the latest Clapper case. As the complaint recounts, ACLU and ACLU Foundation are subscribers to Verizon Business Network Services, "whose communications have already been monitored by the government under the VBNS order and whose communications continue to be monitored under that order now ... Plaintiffs work often depends on their ability to keep even the facts of their discussion with certain individuals confidential."