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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Lawsuit Challenges Congress' 'Unconstitutional' Defunding of ACORN
29 Nov 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Lawsuit Challenges Congress' 'Unconstitutional' Defunding of ACORN

Interview with Jules Lobel, vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Scott Harris

Conservative activist James O'Keefe and his friend Hannah Giles, traveled across the U.S. this past summer to offices of the group, ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, where they posed as a pimp and prostitute. The couple, stereotypically dressed for their roles, asked ACORN employees in various offices for help in obtaining a housing loan to open a brothel for underage Salvadoran girls. Some workers attempted to assist the pair, while at least one office ejected them and filed a police report.

These encounters were secretly videotaped by O'Keefe and later broadcast nationwide on the Internet and television, creating a firestorm among Republican legislators and conservative commentators. The video recordings were then employed by GOP lawmakers to launch a successful drive for a congressional vote to defund ACORN of all federal funding for the group's programs assisting low-income people on how to secure mortgages and fair housing education and outreach. The lopsided defunding vote attracted many Democrats, and victory was declared against ACORN, long a GOP target for the group's successful voter registration drives.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jules Lobel, professor of international and constitutional law at the University of Pittsburgh and vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He explains the center's decision to file a lawsuit challenging what they believe to be Congress’s unconstitutional defunding of ACORN for declaring an organization guilty of a crime and punishing it and its members without benefit of a trial.

Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights by calling (212) 614-6464 or visit their website at

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
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Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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