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.

Will Peter King's Hearing Carry Stigma Like Joseph McCarthy's?

Will Peter King's Hearing Carry Stigma Like Joseph McCarthy's?

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:29am

Rep. Peter King is holding a hearing about the “radicalization” of U.S. Muslims and whether they are sufficiently cooperative with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. This may be the first of a series on this subject. But holding a hearing based on a flawed radicalization theory that conflates religious practices with preparation for terrorism and focuses exclusively on Muslim-Americans is misguided, discriminatory and counterproductive.

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…

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…

Thoughts on Speech After the Arizona Tragedy

Thoughts on Speech After the Arizona Tragedy

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:40pm

The events of last weekend are tragic in so many ways, on so many different levels. The ACLU grieves deeply with the rest of the nation for all who were killed or injured in this senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others, and we wish a full recovery for all the wounded who are still struggling. There is no place for such violence in our democracy.

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…

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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