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ACLU defends itself against critics on free speech

David Cole, the director of the ACLU, speaking at a conference
ACLU National Director David Cole speaking at a conference. Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage via Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union is defending its position on free speech after a leaked memo last week revealed the organization was having an internal debate on how it weighed free speech against other civil rights.

Why it matters: The ACLU is obligated, as a non-partisan civil rights organization, to defend clients seeking help — even if it doesn't agree with them.