ACLU gives Obama mixed first year rights grade

January 19, 2010

obamaU.S. President Barack Obama has taken some bold steps on civil rights during his first year in office, such as ordering an end to torture and the closure of the Guantanamo Bay military prison, but his overall record is mixed, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Tuesday. 

The civil rights group said Obama had acted on more than a third of 145 recommendations it made to him when he was elected. The recommendations focused on steps  the president could take on his own without a vote by Congress.

“The Obama administration has made some significant strides toward restoring civil liberties and the rule of law,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero in a statement.

“But in other areas, the administration has fallen short by allowing some of the (George W.) Bush administration’s most troublesome practices to continue and by failing to take steps that would restore some very fundamental rights and values to American life,” he said.

On issues such as spying on Americans, monitoring of activists and terrorism watchlists, the ACLU said Obama had not acted on any of its recommendations.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama addresses closing session of the Jobs and Economic Growth Forum at the White House December 3, 2009)

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