ACLU Mourns Norman Dorsen

July 2, 2017 3:15 pm

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“Today, we lost one of this country’s most courageous defenders of equal justice, my friend and role model, Norman Dorsen. Norman was nothing short of a trailblazing giant in the history of American civil liberties,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“In front of the Supreme Court, he successfully argued several cases that cemented fundamental constitutional rights, including due process for juveniles and constitutional protections for children regardless of their parents’ marital status. He also brought one of the earliest challenges to discrimination against a gay man to the Supreme Court for review as well as argued the court’s first abortion rights case. As president of the ACLU, Norman masterfully steered the organization back to life after it was on the brink of extinction following our controversial defense of Nazi’s right to march in Skokie. His vision, skill, and tireless passion for the work are directly responsible for the vibrancy of the organization today.

“Many of us at the ACLU were inspired to become advocates for civil liberties because of the organization Norman did so much to shape. To celebrate his work, the ACLU established the Dorsen Presidential Prize in 2013 to honor an academic in any discipline who, like Norman, made an outstanding lifetime contribution to civil liberties.

“We mourn him today, as do all whom he touched in his life and work. He leaves behind an indelible mark on this world that compels us all to continue his indispensable work.”

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