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.

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…

Thanks to John Brennan, a Big and Bipartisan Pushback Against the Vast Killing Program

Thanks to John Brennan, a Big and Bipartisan Pushback Against the Vast Killing Program

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:46pm

Just two months ago, when President Obama nominated the architect of his vast killing program, John Brennan, to be CIA Director...

The State of Equality & Justice in America: The Pendulum Swings between Joy and Despair

The State of Equality & Justice in America: The Pendulum Swings between Joy and Despair

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:26pm

Let's just take one day, February 27, 2013, as a snapshot of the state of equality and justice in America.

Are the FBI and Congress Politicizing Terrorism Intelligence?

Are the FBI and Congress Politicizing Terrorism Intelligence?

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:18am

Since 1990, 670 people have been killed and 3,053 injured in attacks by far-right extremists in the United States, according to a new study by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point.  Perhaps more frightening, the CTC says its data shows the number of violent attacks has increased precipitously since the late 1990s, and especially since 2006.  The report has generated a predictable (and frankly deserved) backlash against it, highlighting the difficulty government agencies have had in analyzing politically-motivated violence in an objective manner.

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