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Susan Herman      

Constitutional Law Scholar; Former President of the American Civil Liberties Union

Susan N. Herman was elected President of the American Civil Liberties Union from October 2008 to January 2021, after having served on the ACLU National Board of Directors, as a member of the Executive Committee, and as General Counsel.

Herman holds a chair as Ruth Bader Ginsburg Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and seminars on national security, law and literature, and COVID-19 and the Constitution.

She writes extensively on constitutional and criminal procedure topics for scholarly and other publications, ranging from law reviews and books to periodicals and on-line publications. Her most recent book, "Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy," is the winner of the 2012 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Herman has also discussed constitutional law issues on radio, including NPR shows around the country; on television, including programs on CNN, CSPAN, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS; and in print media including the Huffington Post, Marie Claire, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

She has been a frequent speaker at academic conferences and continuing legal education events organized by groups including the Federal Judicial Center, and at numerous law schools, colleges (including the U.S. Army War College), universities, and high schools. She has also spoken at dozens of non-academic conferences, including Web Summit, Collision, Wikimania, and the Brussels Forum, and spoken institutions like the Brooklyn Public Library (2020 Kahn Humanities Lecture) and the Central Arkansas Library. She has twice been named by Crain’s as one of the 50 most powerful women in New York City, and has received awards from groups as disparate as the Japanese-American Bar Association, Trinity College Dublin (Praeses Elit), the United Sikhs, and the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.

Herman has also participated in Supreme Court litigation, writing and collaborating on amicus curiae briefs for the ACLU on a range of constitutional criminal procedure issues, most recently in Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014), where the Supreme Court accepted the argument that cell phones cannot be searched “incident to arrest” without a search warrant.

Herman received a B.A. from Barnard College as a philosophy major, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Note and Comment Editor on the N.Y.U. Law Review. Before entering teaching, Professor Herman was Pro Se Law Clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Staff Attorney and then Associate Director of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York.

Speech Topics

Surveillance and National Security Issues

Marriage Equality and the LGBT Rights Revolution: From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall

Women’s Rights

Voting Rights

Students’ Rights

General Civil Liberties: Myths About the ACLU


Profile in Courage: Nicholas Merrill, Web Freedom Hero | In Their ...

Profile in Courage: Nicholas Merrill, Web Freedom Hero. by Susan Herman. June 24, 2013, 12:10 PM. Nicholas_merrill. Nicholas Merrill is an internet service ...

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