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.

 

School vouchers aren’t just bad policy—they’re unpopular, too

School vouchers aren’t just bad policy—they’re unpopular, too

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm
Year after year, PDK/Gallup releases an annual poll of public attitudes toward public schools, and it consistently finds that a majority of those polled oppose allowing students and parents to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools. This year's poll, released today, found that 70 percent of Americans oppose funneling taxpayer dollars to private schools for tuition, the highest level of opposition to vouchers ever recorded.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm

A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).…

Radically Wrong: Misstated Threats - Terrorism isn’t an American-Muslim Problem

Radically Wrong: Misstated Threats - Terrorism isn’t an American-Muslim Problem

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

Despite evidence to the contrary, the government continues to embrace a theory that adopting radical ideas is a first step toward terrorist violence. Based on this discredited model, "preventive" policies are being pursued, resulting in discrimination,…

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Remarkably, there are only 16 states that currently have workplace non-discrimination laws that are fully inclusive of LGBT people. This leaves LGBT people vulnerable to workplace discrimination in well over half of the country–an unacceptable situation…

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:58pm

With Congress having recently approved this year’s NDAA, we think it is important to draw attention to a provision (Section 533(a)(1)), which, though hidden away, is unprecedented, sweeping, and could invite dangerous claims of a right to discriminate against not just lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, but also women, religious minorities, and in the provision of health care.

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am

This piece originally appeared at Defense One.

Over the past couple of months, conservative commentators and some Republican members of Congress have been making a lot of hay over reports that Army diversity trainings have labeled various religious…

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination.  Has He?

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination. Has He?

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:51pm

Four years ago last month, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to ensure that religious organizations that receive government funds to provide social services abide by the Constitution and are not allowed to discriminate with government funding. …

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…

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…

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…

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