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.

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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ACLU Joins in Briefing Members of Congress on the Implications of Arizona v. U.S.

ACLU Joins in Briefing Members of Congress on the Implications of Arizona v. U.S.

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:19pm

Today we let federal lawmakers know that Arizona’s racial profiling law, S.B. 1070, is about much more than just the state of Arizona and its immigrants. It’s about how we see ourselves as a nation.

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…

A Legacy of Civil Rights Is at Risk

A Legacy of Civil Rights Is at Risk

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:48pm

A growing number of states have enacted laws that will suppress voting, yet the minority community has uttered little protest

President Obama: Veto Indefinite Detention

President Obama: Veto Indefinite Detention

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:03pm

As I write this, the Defense Authorization bill is on its way to President Obama's desk. The bill contains dangerous, sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provisions.

Leading members of Congress have already indicated that they believe that…

The Right to Vote: Let's Not Forget Where We've Been and How Far We Need to Go

The Right to Vote: Let's Not Forget Where We've Been and How Far We Need to Go

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

Despite the progress our country has made since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, voter suppression tactics remain a serious threat to the right to vote.

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…

Thanks for the Shout Out, Mr. Vice President!

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:03pm

Wednesday marks the official start of the new 112th Congress. All of the Representatives and Senators who were elected in November now officially begin their terms in office today. The ACLU welcomes all of the new Members of Congress and looks…

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…

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...

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