Blog of Rights

Laura W.
Murphy

Laura W. Murphy (@lwmurphy) is in her second tenure as Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, a position she first held from 1993-2005. Since returning Murphy has maintained strong relationships with leaders in the United States Congress and the Obama Administration to advance the ACLU’s public policy priorities including national security, criminal justice, human rights, privacy, reproductive rights, civil rights and First Amendment issues.

A Mother's Rules for Being Young, Black, and Male

A Mother's Rules for Being Young, Black, and Male

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:08pm
Like many mothers across the country, the Trayvon Martin tragedy still haunts me and makes me want to hold my son closer, knowing that his life as a young Black man in America is not getting any easier. As I wrote in a blog post last year, I've done my best to protect my son, a young man who is 23 and about to enter law school, by teaching him to anticipate prejudice and understand that for some, his skin color is an invitation to scorn and mistreatment. But one heartbreaking lesson to take from this tragedy is that there is essentially nothing that parents can tell their Black children—especially young men—about how to survive in this world that will protect them from violence, and that must change.
Trusting Law Enforcement After the Trayvon Tragedy

Trusting Law Enforcement After the Trayvon Tragedy

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:14pm

The fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012, while not the first act of senseless violence of its kind, evoked a wide array of emotions including sadness, anger, and fear. For many of us, hearing the verdict two days ago felt…

Our Stance on the Immigration Reform Bill: Support for Many Civil Liberties Provisions and Opposition to New Border Measures

Our Stance on the Immigration Reform Bill: Support for Many Civil Liberties Provisions and Opposition to New Border Measures

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:22pm

As anyone who’s been following news reports on the immigration reform bill now knows, a major agreement on the bill has been reached in the U.S. Senate, and its border enforcement provisions have changed dramatically.

You might be wondering…

Let's Check James Comey's Bush Years Record Before He Becomes FBI Director

Let's Check James Comey's Bush Years Record Before He Becomes FBI Director

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:26pm

This piece originally appeared at the Guardian.

It had the air of Hollywood. On the night of 10 March 2004, James Comey, the nominee to lead the FBI for the next ten years, rushed to the hospital bedside of his terribly ill boss, Attorney General…

The PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 Must be Reformed

The PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 Must be Reformed

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:16pm

The following remarks were given by Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office, at Sen. Rand Paul's press conference yesterday announcing his intention to sue the government to stop NSA surveillance of Americans' communications.…

A Step Towards Surveillance Transparency

A Step Towards Surveillance Transparency

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:14pm

When Google published its first government transparency report in 2010, critics of the company showered praise upon the company, and rightly so. At a time when other internet companies were fearful of "stick[ing] their head up" by publishing surveillance…

ACLU in POLITICO: Roll Back the Surveillance State

ACLU in POLITICO: Roll Back the Surveillance State

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:13pm

Because of the extraordinary revelations last week by the Guardian, Congress and the American people now know that the Patriot Act is being used by the National Security Agency to collect the phone records of all Americans, every day. There's no more debate about whether the government, and the military at that, is spying on us: only whether Congress is going to stop them.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to obtain ‘any tangible thing' relevant to an investigation. According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this authority has been used to collect all phone records in the U.S., even those of law-abiding citizens who have no connection to crime or terrorism whatsoever. The administration and a few members of Congress have confirmed and defended this practice as necessary to protect national security.

But there's no reason to believe that the government's collection efforts stop there.

Read the rest of the piece at POLITICO: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/roll-back-the-surveillance-state-92550.html

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Immigration Reform: Where Things Stand Now and What's Next

Immigration Reform: Where Things Stand Now and What's Next

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:04pm

The immigration reform bill that has emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee is good – not ideal, not awful, but good. It is a game changer for those who currently have no hope of realizing the Constitution's promise of equal protection. But…

Americans Overwhelmingly Support a Fair Immigration System

Americans Overwhelmingly Support a Fair Immigration System

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:19am

For over 90 years the ACLU has defended the rights of everyone in the United States, whether born in this country or abroad, because the Constitution protects the civil liberties and civil rights of all of them.

The data from a new poll released…

A Fourth Amendment Application for the Internet

A Fourth Amendment Application for the Internet

By Grover G. Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform & Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:35pm

Originally posted on Politico.com

Technology has changed dramatically since 1986. With free, unlimited email storage and high-speed broadband service widely available, we no longer have to download email onto our hard drives. Instead, we indefinitely…

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