Does the ACLU receive taxpayers’ money?

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When the ACLU wins in certain federal lawsuits, they will try to force the government to pay their attorneys fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988; payment of such fees usually comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket. The intent of the law was to encourage individuals to vindicate their civil rights, not to fund a misguided interpretation of the so-called “separation of church and state.” Yet that is exactly how the ACLU and its allies use the attorneys fee provision: to fund their lawsuits challenging issues such as Christmas concerts in public schools, prayer in city council meetings, Ten Commandments monuments, etc. Congress has considered (but not enacted) corrective legislation that would clarify that § 1988 should not be used to fund “separation of church and state” claims against public officials who acknowledge, or allow others to acknowledge, God on public property. If the law is amended, those actions could still be brought, but the possibility of the plaintiff recovering attorneys fees ... more
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