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There is a “crime” here, though, at least in the ACLU’s eyes: conservative political activism. The anonymous grandmother was a founder of a small conservative group. Ms. Leighton was prominently involved in a successful effort to convince the Tucson School District to end a racially biased ethnic-studies program.

In 2011, the Arizona superintendent of public instruction found the Raza (Race) Studies Program to be in violation of statutes prohibiting the promotion of ethnic resentment. In public comments during the case, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents noted that the Race Studies textbooks were “classical showpieces of Marxist-oriented indoctrination. They are about political oppression, incessant deprecation of anything not Chicano — including the U.S. Constitution, capitalism, and anything European.” Students were taught that “they are oppressed” and “principally not American.”

This gets us to the real motive for the ACLU subpoenas: retaliation and harassment. Ms. Leighton and other subpoena recipients are targets simply because we hold views different from the ACLU and its clients. However, the discovery process in civil litigation does not authorize the ACLU to trample on core First Amendment and privacy rights. Our message to the ACLU: See you in court.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch, which is representing several individuals and organizations in the ACLU subpoena litigation.