Local ACLU to Debate Breaking With National Body on Thomas


Local American Civil Liberties Union directors will meet tonight in Los Angeles to discuss whether to break with national ACLU officials over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The National ACLU Board of Directors voted recently to remain neutral on Thomas’ nomination. Before that vote, ACLU of Southern California officials had joined about six other chapters in urging the national organization to oppose Thomas.

Joe Hicks, communications director of the ACLU of Southern California, said he expects policy direction to emerge from tonight’s special joint meeting of the boards of directors of the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

“Most of us feel very strongly about this issue . . . " Ramona Ripston, executive director of ACLU of Southern California, told directors in a recent memo.


She said 59% of the National ACLU’s board of directors voted earlier this month in New York to oppose Thomas’ nomination. A 60% vote would have been required to promulgate a national policy to oppose Thomas.

“Consequently,” Ripston wrote, “the vote means National ACLU will remain neutral on the nomination.”