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 New Jim Crow

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:24pm
(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)
Spying

What’s the Government Doing Targeting Civil Rights Leaders?

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:11pm

The NSA and FBI are targeting prominent American Muslims, including civil rights activists, academics, and a former government official, we learned in a troubling report released last night.

Their emails have been stored, their movements have…

NSA Reform Takes Its First Steps

NSA Reform Takes Its First Steps

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:52pm

Congress finally had enough.

Almost one year after the first disclosure about the NSA's abusive surveillance programs, the House Judiciary Committee made history on Wednesday when it voted unanimously to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. Much to our…

The NSA's Winter of Discontent

The NSA's Winter of Discontent

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:01pm

Originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The summer of Snowden is fast becoming the NSA's winter of discontent.

This week, tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and others published an open letter to President Obama and Congress urging…

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…

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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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...

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...

A Tribute to My Warrior Brother, John A. Payton

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

I'm incredibly saddened by the passing of John A. Payton, head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). Our nation has lost a brilliant warrior for justice, and I've lost a dear friend and colleague in the movement.

I first had the pleasure…

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