After the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union has come under fire for a lawsuit it filed in defense of the organizers' right to assemble. When Charlottesville city officials attempted to relocate the march a mile away from a site that had symbolic meaning to the white supremacists — a statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park — the ACLU intervened, arguing the government was overstepping its constitutional bounds. A day before the rally, a federal judge sided with the ACLU.

ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero issued a statement on Aug. 15 that condemned the ideology of white supremacists while opposing the government's attempt to suppress their speech. The statement reads, in part:

Not all speech is morally equivalent, but the airing of hateful speech allows people of good will to confront the implications of such speech and reject bigotry, discrimination and hate. This contestation of values can only happen if the exchange of ideas is out in the open.

Not everyone in the organization agreed. One board member of the ACLU of Virginia, Waldo Jaquith, resigned over what he said was the organization's partial responsibility for the violence stemming from the rally that left 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer dead. Jacquith announced the resignation in a tweet: