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Law Professor Elected President of the A.C.L.U.

Resource type: News


The American Civil Liberties Union elected a new president on Saturday, choosing a constitutional law scholar who said she would reach out to African-Americans and to religious communities where the group has often been viewed more as foe than friend. The selection of Susan Herman, a Brooklyn Law School professor, gives the organization a new public face for the first time in nearly two decades. Nadine Strossen, the A.C.L.U.’s longest-serving president and the first woman to hold the job, had led the group since 1991, overseeing a substantial rise in formal membership and national staffing. The A.C.L.U. became especially active after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, challenging government practices regarding espionage, prisoner interrogations and the detention of terrorism suspects. Ms. Herman said the group would build on Ms. Strossen’s legacy and pledged to continue work in those areas, especially if the federal government continues with its policies. Ms. Herman said the group might expand its presence internationally, becoming more involved in civil liberties violations overseas. The organization has long sought to increase its reach at home, working during Ms. Strossen’s tenure to expand in the center of the country, where its activities and support had traditionally been weak. The vote on Saturday before the board followed Ms. Strossen’s resignation, announced in May. Ms. Herman, who has been the organization’s general counsel, beat out Robert Remar, a business litigation lawyer based in Atlanta who has served as the A.C.L.U.’s vice president since 2005.

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