For Immediate Release
ACLU New York Times Ad Today Calls On President Obama Not to Back Down on 9/11 Civilian Trials
Group Makes Same Plea in Letter to President
the New York Times calling on President Obama not to back down from his
administration's decision to prosecute the 9/11 suspects in civilian
courts. The ad comes in response to news reports that the Obama
administration is on the verge of reversing Attorney General Eric
Holder's November decision, turning instead to the discredited military
The ad features a picture of President Obama morphing into a picture of former President Bush.
The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:
"We placed this ad because it's critical that Americans know what is at
stake here: nothing less than America's commitment to the Constitution
and the rule of law. The military commissions are seriously flawed and
unprepared to handle these complex cases. If President Obama reverses
his attorney general's principled decision under political pressure, it
will strike a devastating blow to American values and do serious damage
to our nation's credibility. We urge the president to do the right
thing and keep these cases in federal court, where they belong."
The ACLU also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to keep the
9/11 trials in civilian court and detailing the problems of the
military commission system and its inability to provide fair, effective
trials in these cases. The letter, signed by Romero, states:
believe that you will face few, if any, greater challenges to who we
are as a nation and to our commitment to the rule of law than this
question of sustaining the Attorney General's principled decision to
use federal criminal courts for these trials... The trials of the
defendants alleged to have had roles in the September 11 attacks are
the most important terrorism trials - and arguably the most important
criminal trials - in the entire history of the nation. It would be a
colossal mistake to reverse the administration's decision to try these
defendants in federal criminal court and again relegate these landmark
trials to irretrievably defective military commissions."
The full letter can be found at: www.aclu.org/national-
The ACLU New York Times ad is available online at: www.aclu.org/aclu-ad-what-
The full text of the ad reads:
What will it be Mr. President?
Change or more of the Same?
Barack Obama vowed to change the Bush-Cheney policies and restore
America's values of justice and due process. Many of us are shocked and
concerned that right now, President Obama is considering reversing his
attorney general's decision to try the 9/11 defendants in criminal
court. Our criminal justice system has successfully handled over 300
terrorism cases compared to only 3 in the military commissions. Our
criminal justice system will resolve these cases more quickly and more
credibly than the military commissions.
President Obama can vigorously prosecute terrorists and keep us safe without violating our Constitution.
As president, Barack Obama must decide whether he will keep his solemn
promise to restore our Constitution and due process, or ignore his vow
and continue the Bush-Cheney policies.
Tell President Obama not to back down on his commitment to our justice
system, and to try the 9/11 defendants in criminal court.
Remind the world that America stands for due process, justice, and the rule of law.
More information about the ACLU's call to use civilian trials to try the 9/11 suspects is available online here: www.aclu.org/national-
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.