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.

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.

Mr. President, What Will Be Your Civil Rights Legacy?

Mr. President, What Will Be Your Civil Rights Legacy?

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:09am

Watching President Obama take the Oath of Office four years ago was a historic moment I will never forget.  I remember meeting him when he was an Illinois state senator...

African Americans Are Key to the Success of the LGBT Movement

African Americans Are Key to the Success of the LGBT Movement

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:16am

This was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

As 2012 draws to a close and I reflect on the historic year that was, one of the things that I am most proud of is the role that African Americans played in helping to bring the freedom to…

Let's March On: Protecting the Right to Vote in 2012

Let's March On: Protecting the Right to Vote in 2012

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:33pm

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the fateful march from Selma to Montgomery, which began with the horrors of Bloody Sunday, and concluded with a rally and speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., only days after President Lyndon B. Johnson submitted…

Contraceptive Coverage Should Be the Rule, Not the Exception

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:53pm

Far too often, government policies tend to be at odds with reality when it comes to women's reproductive health by ignoring the services that women need most. Which is why guidelines recently issued by the Department of Human Services requiring…

Brinksmanship: The Hidden Threats to Liberty

Brinksmanship: The Hidden Threats to Liberty

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:43pm

It isn’t a surprise to anyone that our political system is in crisis, and that in times of crisis, real or imagined, civil liberties are most vulnerable.

Notwithstanding the compromise measure that led to final passage of the debt-ceiling…

Loving in Black and White

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:17pm

This month, a civil rights milestone — the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the ACLU case, Loving v. Virginia, which struck down state bans on interracial marriage — will be heralded in a new documentary that will…

Bending The Arc Towards Justice: Congress Passes Bill Reducing Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:55pm

Nearly a quarter of a century after President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act resulting in the infamous 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine powder offenses the House of Representatives passed the Fair Sentencing Act by a voice…

The New Jim Crow

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:24pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

By now, most everyone has heard about Arizona's new law requiring police to demand to see documentation from anyone they stop whom they suspect is in the country illegally. What this really means is…

The March on Washington Through a Child's Eyes

The March on Washington Through a Child's Eyes

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:10pm

I was at home when the March on Washington took place in 1963. My parents took my four older siblings with them, but at the last minute decided that, as the youngest, I should stay at home.

I was furious about being left behind. My parents…

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