ACLU Sides With Craig

The American Civil Liberties Union has sided with U.S. Sen. Larry Craig in his attempt to reverse his guilty plea in a Minnesota court.

They're saying his arrest "might have been unconstitutional."

"The real motive behind secret sting operations like the one that resulted in Senator Craig’s arrest is not to stop people from inappropriate activity. It is to make as many arrests as possible – arrests that sometimes unconstitutionally trap innocent people," said Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.

And they've filed a brief to that extent.

Craig's hearing before the court is set for Sept. 26, just four days before Craig has said he intends to resign.

In their brief, the national civil rights group argues that the cops can only arrest people for soliciting public sex if, and only if, they can show that the sex being solicited was going to happen in public.

Solicitation for private sex, regardless if it occurs in a bar or a restroom, is protected speech under the First Amendment, the ACLU argued.

The sting operation that the Minneapolis Airport Police used to snare Craig was not "carefully crafted," the ACLU argued.

"Senator Craig has not always been a great friend of civil liberties, but you shouldn’t have to endorse the civil liberties of others to keep your own," said Romero. "Government should make public restrooms safe for all, but it should do so in a manner that is really designed to stop inappropriate behavior, rather than destroying the lives of people who might have no intention of doing anything illegal."

A copy of the ACLU’s brief is available here.