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.

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 insurance coverage for contraception and other preventive services were so welcome. After all, virtually every woman of childbearing age practices some sort of contraception at some point.
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…

Is the Debt Ceiling a Civil Liberties Issue?

Is the Debt Ceiling a Civil Liberties Issue?

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:08pm

Even if the debt ceiling is raised, hard decisions will be made about which federal programs will continue and which ones won’t.  The civil liberties consequences of those choices are not entirely predictable, but some are.

We can…

Every Vote Matters

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:57pm

I grew up in a family that was always extremely engaged in politics. My mother ran for political office three times and from an early age instilled in me the importance of exercising our most cherished fundamental right: the right to vote. At…

Justice Is Served

Justice Is Served

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:52pm

Today, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to retroactively applying the new Fair Sentencing Act guidelines to individuals sentenced before the law was enacted.

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…

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.

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.

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…

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…

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