Blog of Rights

Dena
Sher

Dena is legislative counsel at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. Sher joined the ACLU in 2011, after four years as the the state legislative counsel with Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She worked with legislators, activists, and coalition partners on legislation, policy, and ballot initiatives that affected religious liberties, including school vouchers, healthcare refusals and religion in the workplace. She was also an Equal Justice Works fellow at Americans United. Her Equal Justice Works project investigated how programs funded under President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative were implemented. Sher also worked on many of the cases litigated by AU during her fellowship.

Sher is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Georgetown University.

 

Special Exceptions for Religious Organizations Threaten Liberty

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:35am
Last week, at a congressional hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” Rep. Jim Jordan asked a witness what the biggest threat to religious liberty is today. The response from Colby May, from the American Center for Law and Justice, a frequent opponent in our advocacy and litigation: whether or not religious organizations get special exceptions to laws designed to protect those who need government services. We agree with May that this is a critical issue. Needless to say, though, we take different sides.
Protecting Constitutional Principles — Even After Disasters

Protecting Constitutional Principles — Even After Disasters

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:47pm

This was cross-posted to the American Constitution Society blog. 

The impact Superstorm Sandy had on homes, businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship across the Northeast was devastating. And still, in the wake of the storm, these…

White House Should Focus on the Constitution, Not the Bible

White House Should Focus on the Constitution, Not the Bible

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:41pm

Last week, it was reported that the president of the American Bible Society is meeting with Joshua DuBois, the head of the President's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, "to begin a dialogue on the importance of the Bible…

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:31pm

In 1998, Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to draw attention to violations of religious freedom in other countries. The commissioners vote annually to list countries that are of particular concern or place…

Who’s Abusing Their Power? House Oversight Committee’s Show-Trial Takes HHS to Task for Helping Trafficking Victims

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sarah Lipton-Lubet, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:28pm

In the upside-down, through-the looking-glass world we often find ourselves in, in our nation’s capital, today the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing “investigating” why Catholic organizations only…

Now Hiring (Some Exclusions May Apply)

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:29am

Right now, the White House is wholly focused on getting people back to work. That should be great news for the American people. Why is it then that the administration has a damaging policy that actually limits certain jobs to only certain people?…

Obama Says Employment Discrimination "A Very Difficult Issue." It's Not.

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:31am

At his July 22 town hall meeting, President Obama was asked about his 2008 declaration to reform the “faith-based initiative,” clearly stating that faith-based groups that receive taxpayer money to provide social services will no longer…

President Obama: Restore Civil Rights Protections!

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:03pm

Seventy years ago this week, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all federal agencies to "include in all defense contracts hereafter negotiated by them a provision obligating the contractor not to discriminate against any worker because…

ENDA Is Good, Could Be Even Better

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held an important hearing on workplace discrimination experienced by those who are or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The hearing addressed…

Looking for Simple Answers to Basic Questions on Faith-Based Hiring

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:04pm

It’s been almost three years of silence from President Obama on the issue of whether religious organizations may discriminate when hiring for government-funded positions. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to find out where we have…

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