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Laura W. Murphy
Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

In February 2010, Laura Murphy returned to the ACLU Washington Legislative Office (WLO) to serve as its Director (a position she previously held from 1993 to 2005). Prior to Laura’s return, she founded and directed her own firm, Laura Murphy & Associates, L.L.C., where she utilized her 30 years of policy-making and political expertise to guide and advise corporate and nonprofit clients at the national, state and local levels.

Murphy is well known for her legislative advocacy on human rights and civil liberties. She has managed high-profile legislative and communications campaigns on criminal justice, First Amendment, equality and national security issues. Prior to the establishment of her firm and her prior work with the ACLU, Murphy served as chief of staff to a California Assembly Speaker, as a cabinet member for the Mayor of the District of Columbia, as an account executive for a public affairs firm, and as a legislative assistant for two members of Congress. Murphy has testified more than a dozen times before Congress and is an experienced national spokesperson. She has been a frequent guest on PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, ABC World News, CNN’s Crossfire, Lou Dobbs and Larry King Live, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Entries by Laura W. Murphy

Blacking Out the Vote

(33) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 4:54 PM

Voters are facing an ugly surprise on their way to the voting booth on Tuesday. What most people don't realize is that since 2006, some 34 state legislatures have worked diligently to chip away at the fundamental right to vote -- and overwhelmingly, people of color are the target.

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The ACLU Supports Campaign Finance Reform and Free Speech

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 8:18 PM

For an organization that works on issues as diverse as drones, women's rights, racial justice, war powers, immigration and flag burning, internal debates are inevitable and healthy. We welcome them. One of those long-standing debates has become more animated recently as the Senate considers a constitutional amendment that would empower...

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The Civil Rights Fight of the Information Age

(2) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 3:05 PM

Net neutrality is a civil rights issue. While we often stress the important First Amendment and free speech issues tied to strong "open internet" or "net neutrality" protections, we have spent less time discussing how crucial these protections are to minority and low income communities.

Very soon the...

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The Perversity of Profiling

(12) Comments | Posted April 12, 2014 | 4:08 PM

The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that "long-awaited revisions to the Justice Department's racial profiling rules would...

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How President Obama Can Curb Deportations Now

(35) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 12:16 PM

President Obama is presiding over a broken immigration system that has deported two million human beings since he assumed office in 2009. It is a horrific figure that we too often forget represents incalculable human suffering, including an estimated 150,000 U.S. citizen children who had a parent deported...

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An Open Letter to the President on Race

(11) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 1:18 PM

Dear Mr. President,

Do you remember any of your campaign ads from your 2000 Congressional campaign? I'm thinking specifically of a radio ad touting your support for a bill that required police officers to log the ethnicity of every driver they pulled over.

In the ad, you said,...

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The NSA's Winter of Discontent

(26) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 2:39 PM

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 comprehensive reform of "government surveillance efforts." Then more than 500 writers, including five Pulitzer Prize winners,...

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Big Brother's Always Been Watching Some of U.S.

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 10:59 AM

As revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden continue to mount, Americans have been shocked by the NSA's incredible invasions of privacy - some more so than others.

There has been a noticeable difference between the reactions of minority groups and that of white and privileged Americans. While both have been...

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Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 3:28 PM

Newly sworn in FBI Director James Comey has ordered all new FBI agent trainees to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, so they can reflect on the FBI's infamous history of hounding the civil rights leader and recognize "the dangers...

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The March on Washington Through a Child's Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 3:16 PM

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 had talked about the...

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Congress Must Act to Finish Job on Criminal Justice Reform

(11) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 3:25 PM

Attorney General Eric Holder's speech to the American Bar Association last Monday, announcing critical reforms to the way the Department of Justice prosecutes and addresses drug crimes, was historic and long overdue. Not in recent memory has this country seen an attorney general acknowledge that it is time "to break...

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Inaugurating Roe: Remove Restrictions on Abortion Coverage

(2) Comments | Posted January 21, 2013 | 10:27 AM

In·au·gu·rate (in ô΄ gyә rāt) vt. To "put something into operation."

I've thought a lot about this word as President Obama's second inauguration nears. The day after the inaugural ceremonies is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision protecting a woman's constitutional right to an...

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Mr. President, What Will Be Your Civil Rights Legacy?

(2) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 3:55 PM

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, lobbying him when he was a U.S. Senator and meeting with him at the White House a week after the...

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African Americans Are Key to the Success of the LGBT Movement

(57) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 2:41 PM

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 marry for committed and loving same-sex couples to my home state...

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Time for Obama and Holder to Truly End Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement

(38) Comments | Posted December 23, 2012 | 6:50 PM

Why can't President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder do more to ban racial profiling in the United States?

Surely, more so than any of their predecessors, they can understand the injustice and humiliation racial profiling victims feel when they are treated as suspect because of the color of their...

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'Fixing' Citizens United Will Break the Constitution

(206) Comments | Posted June 28, 2012 | 8:21 PM

In “Fixing Citizens United,” Professor Geoffrey Stone -- usually a friend to the First Amendment -- argues for a constitutional amendment to “fix” the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Professor Stone mentions the proposal rather offhandedly, but the idea is a nuclear option. A constitutional amendment -- specifically an amendment...

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A Mother's Story: It Is Not What We Say to Black Boys and Men, It Is What We Do to Them

(7) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 9:03 AM

Over the past month, I’ve listened to the public conversation unfolding around Trayvon Martin's death. Across the nation -- from race relations experts at the best universities to average Americans at the dinner table -- everyone is debating: What role did race play in the 17-year-old’s shooting and the police’s...

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A Tribute to My Warrior Brother, John A. Payton

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 11:55 AM

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 to meet John during the Clinton...

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LGBT Rights: A Matter of Fairness

(49) Comments | Posted March 9, 2012 | 12:35 PM

Earlier this week, Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post wrote a column outlining why he thinks African Americans should embrace gay rights, specifically the freedom for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples to marry.

As an African-American woman who has been active in my support for the LGBT...

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The Three Faces of Racial Profiling: The ACLU Connects the Dots

(17) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 5:15 PM

In recent weeks, local police have been circulating predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in Alabama, asking those standing on the street to go inside their homes or face arrest — all because the state passed a law requiring police to be immigration agents.

During the past decade, as international terrorism...

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