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Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Defending our most treasured rights

Our country’s Constitution and federal laws contain critical protections that form the foundation of our inclusive society – the right to be free from discrimination, the freedom to worship as we choose, the right to vote for our elected representatives, the protections of due process, the right to privacy.  Senator Coons believes we must vigilantly protect these rights and work to expand their reach.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Senator Coons’ priorities include:

Ensuring that all Americans are free from discrimination.  Our Constitution begins with those famous seven words: “We the People of the United States.”  Today, we understand, “we the people” means all the people.  Senator Coons is proud that, over the course of our nation’s history, we have expanded our understanding of Due Process and Equal Protection, and we have passed critical civil rights laws so that all people have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, free from discrimination.  Senator Coons supports legislation that advances fairness in our society, from the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, which would combat stigma, stereotypes, and discrimination faced by individuals living with HIV.  Senator Coons also recognizes that our courts must continue to be a place where the legal rights of all Americans can be vindicated, and he carefully evaluates judicial nominees’ commitment to this principle.  

Defending religious liberty. Our United States were founded by people who came here for many reasons – searching for opportunity and wealth, seeking freedom from oppression, and in many cases, hoping to be free to practice their faith and to build a community dedicated to living out their faith.  While other nations have been besieged by sectarian wars and persecution of religious minorities, inclusion of all faiths and equality of all people have been guiding lights in the success of the American democratic experiment.  Senator Coons is committed to protecting the ability of all Americans to worship as they choose.  He has opposed President Trump’s travel ban and believes that government officials and private employers should not impose their religious beliefs on others to restrict their individual freedom. 

Protecting privacy. Senator Coons has worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure that any law strikes the essential balance between privacy and security for the citizens of these United States.  Senator Coons is also focused on consumer privacy and protection in the age of big data.  We are all familiar with data breaches.  Large and small, incidents that expose our personal data to unauthorized access or use are becoming a sign of our times.  Senator Coons looks forward towards advancing policies that would better address, inform consumers about, and prevent data breaches and unauthorized data usage while fostering innovation within the United States. 

Securing the right to vote. Access to the ballot box is core to our democracy, and the struggle to secure that right for everyone continues to this day.  Civil rights crusaders of the past knocked down many legal barriers to the ballot box.  Today, we must confront the challenges posed by a quieter campaign to reduce access.  Senator Coons strongly believes that we must restore the power of the Voting Rights Act to block discriminatory laws from going into effect and defend access to the ballot box.  He introduced the FAST Voting Act, which would encourage states to make voter registration more flexible, provide for early and absentee voting, help voters with disabilities and language barriers, and better train election officials.  Senator Coons fought to secure $380 million in federal funding to states in election security grants to protect local election systems, and he knows there is more work to be done to protect our elections.