A photo caption in yesterday's Style section incorrectly identified a person at the American Civil Liberties Union National Conference dinner. Pictured with Quentin Burdick was John Shattuck, ACLU's Washington director and head of legislation.
Children's rights, according to Una LaMarche, age 3, of New York City, include the right to skitter up a marble wall, put your toes in the bronze grill, vault up to the window ledge and--jump. But her guardians, Gara LaMarche and Ellen Chuse, in defense of parents' rights to keep her from killing herself, soon deprived her of jumping rights.
Rights of all sorts: for women, to control reproduction, to separate church and state, to prevent unwarranted searches at roadblocks, not to die in the electric chair--all these and more were discussed at a reception last night by 450 civil libertarians from across the country. Their party at the Dirksen Senate Office Building was a part of the American Civil Liberties Union National Conference, under way at Mount Vernon College.
"I'm interested in fairness; that's why I'm here tonight," said Sen. Quentin Burdick (D-N.D.). "The ACLU contributes to a lot of issues. We've got a Constitution and we should support it, that's what the system is all about."
Then he grinned at the crowd around him and said, "Do I sound like a conservative?"
While Burdick was the only senator in evidence at the reception, that was all right by John Shattuck, the ACLU's Washington director and head of legislation.
"Tomorrow our members will make 200 visits to members of Congress to tell them what civil liberties are high on the list back home," he said. "We formed the Bill of Rights Lobby when we saw the rise of the New Right across the country. We have 25,000 people who work for civil rights legislation across the country."
Ira Glasser, national executive sectretary, added, "We have many congressional staff members here tonight--they're the ones we work with.
"This conference is good because many people think of us as high-powered professionals. But we are really a grass-roots organization . . . In most places, ACLU members are a small group. Meetings like these help overcome their feeling of isolation. A fellow in, say, Utah learns that they are having the same problems in Oklahoma."
The Equal Rights Amendment and issues such as immigration were among the crowd's concerns, a sampling showed, as was the death penalty.
"Arizona now has 55 people on death row and we are adding one a month," said Louis Rhodes of Phoenix. "Florida has the largest number of people on death row in the country," Troy Collier of Tampa said, and fellow Floridian Bob Carrigan added, "There are 200 waiting."