The appeal of a 2006 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to retain a Ten Commandments monument on the Haskell County Courthouse lawn was argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver Colorado on October 4, 2007. Daniel Mach, Director of Litigation for the National ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, presented the oral argument to the Tenth Circuit. He was advised by Micheal Salem, an ACLU of Oklahoma cooperating attorney who handled the case at the District Court trial with former ACLU of Oklahoma Staff Attorney Tina Izadi. The ACLU ofRead More →

Travis Busby, a seventh-grader at Nimitz Middle School in Tulsa, refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on June 8, 2005. He also opted not to participate in reciting the Pledge. As a result, the school’s assistant principal imposed a two-day suspension as punishment. Busby’s mother contacted the ACLU of Oklahoma and reported the incident to Staff Attorney Tina Izadi. After reviewing the mother’s report, Izadi initiated dialogue with Tulsa Union Public Schools, and was referred to the district’s attorney. During negotiations with the school’s lawyer, she explained the ACLU’s position that Busby’s punishment was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The districtRead More →

In a significant blow to a national effort to curtail equal opportunity in America, backers of a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would end equal access and opportunity programs in the state asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on April 4, 2008 to withdraw the measure from consideration. The move comes after supporters of the so-called Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative -spearheaded by wealthy California businessman Ward Connerly’s American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) as part of a national crusade against affirmative action – failed to collect a sufficient number of valid signatures needed to get the proposal on this November’s ballot. In conceding defeat, ConnerlyRead More →

Following the untimely death last fall of longtime lobbyist Keith Smith, the ACLU of Oklahoma found itself at a crossroads when the Oklahoma Legislature prepared to begin its 2007 session. There was no easy choice for finding a successor to Smith, whose skills, knowledge and political savvy were irreplaceable. As a result, the affiliate’s leadership decided to refocus the legislative program by recruiting more activists at the grassroots level to lobby for civil liberties. The ACLU of Oklahoma hosted a legislative training workshop on January 27, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City. The event drew moreRead More →

The case of Doe v. Parish was dismissed under a mutual agreement by both plaintiffs and defendants during February of 2008. The lawsuit had been handled by the ACLU of Oklahoma in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma since September of 2006. The ACLU challenged the enforcement and constitutionality of sex offender residential restrictions in Tulsa on behalf of four unidentified men and one unidentified woman. As registered sex offenders, they challenged revised state statutes that would have rendered almost all of Tulsa off-limits for them to live, work, attend church or travel. Defendants in the case included officials with theRead More →