ACLU sends out mailer in South Carolina questioning Biden's civil rights stances

ACLU sends out mailer in South Carolina questioning Biden's civil rights stances
© ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sent out a mailer in South Carolina questioning former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE's stances on civil rights issues after the group said the candidate did not answer its questions.

The ACLU is also running digital ads in the state targeting the stances of both Biden and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE (D-Minn.), who the group said also did not answer its questions. 

"ACLU asked Joe Biden to answer a few questions about civil rights and civil liberties. Seven candidates who qualified for the next debate submitted responses...but Joe Biden hasn't," said the mailer, obtained by The Hill. 

"Does Joe Biden support rights for all?" it said.

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ACLU Political Director Ronnie Newman told The Hill in a Wednesday interview that the mailer landed Friday and that a second similar mailer also targeting Biden will land Thursday or Friday of this week. 

The second mailer will ask "Where is Joe Biden on civil rights? On whether voting is a fundamental right? On whether or criminal justice system is broken and unfair?"

Newman said in the interview that the mailers and ads are meant to put pressure on the candidates to answer its questions, but are not based on their records or stances on the issues. 

"This initial phase that we're in is purely focused on info collection," he said. "What we are looking for is for each and every candidate regardless of party to let us know where they stand."

The Hill has reached out to the Biden and Klobuchar campaigns for comment. 

The action is part of the ACLU's first "Rights for All" voter engagement campaign that was launched earlier this year. 

Biden, who has consistently polled as the Democratic front-runner, has also faced more pointed questions regarding his record on civil rights issues. During the first Democratic debate, he clashed with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCalifornia poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE over his 1970s position on busing black students into majority white schools. He has also faced criticism over a 1994 crime bill he helped author. He has said that the bill did not lead to mass incarceration, but others, like Harris, have said that it did

Biden's campaign does have a criminal justice plan on its website, the goals of which include reducing the number of people who are incarcerated and eliminating race, income and gender disparities in the justice system.

Biden and Klobuchar are among the 20 people running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Both have qualified for the September debate.