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Meryl Chertoff
Meryl Justin Chertoff is Director of The Aspen Institute’s Justice and Society Program. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law, where she teaches about state government, intergovernmental affairs and state courts.

From 2006-2009, Ms. Chertoff was Director of the Sandra Day O’Connor Project on the State of the Judiciary at Georgetown Law, studying and educating the public about federal and state courts. At Georgetown Law, she also developed educational programs for visiting judges and other government officials from overseas.

She served in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), participating in the agency’s transition into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. Ms. Chertoff has also been a legislative relations professional, Director of New Jersey’s Washington, D.C. Office under two governors, and legislative counsel to the Chair of the New Jersey State Assembly Appropriations Committee.She served on the Board of the Anti-Defamation League on New Jersey, and chaired it civil rights committee. For her work, she received its award for Distinguished Service in Civil Rights in 2000.

She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College and earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. While in law school, she was Articles Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She practiced law for a number of years in New York City and New Jersey, and served as law clerk to Honorable Myron H. Thompson (U.S. District Ct., M.D. Ala).

In addition to work at the Aspen Institute and Georgetown Law, Ms. Chertoff is a member of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Initiative Advisory Committee at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver; a member of the Washington Area Advisory Committee of Common Sense Media; and a Trustee of the Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, where she chairs the Arts Advisory Committee. She is a former Board Member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. She has written and lectured to lawyers and the public about judicial selection issues; federalism; and intergovernmental affairs.

Entries by Meryl Chertoff

Saudi Courts Should Exhibit Independence by Protecting Speech

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2015 | 12:39 PM

In an escalation of the stakes in an ongoing controversy, Saudi authorities in late December referred to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, which handles terrorism matters, the case of two Saudi women active in the campaign to allow women to drive. Referral of the two women, Loujain al-Hathloul and...

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The Ferguson Case: A Lesson From Constitutional History

(2) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 3:38 PM

Reporting on the events in Ferguson, Missouri tends to conflate two legal issues. First is the question of whether the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer was justified under police procedure and law. That is a call now being made by a grand jury, and...

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Who Should We Fear, Big Brother or Big Data?

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 12:21 PM


It has occurred to us, here at the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program, that the real threat to privacy we most need to worry about does not come from the National Security Agency and other government spying agencies,...

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Patriot's Day in a Pluralistic Nation

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 12:41 PM

What a beautiful answer to the bad guys. Meb Keflezighi, an American who came to the U.S. from Eritrea at age 12 crossed the finish line first, the first American to win the race in 30 years, and the second fastest time ever in the race from Hopkinton in the...

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Principled Pluralism: The Challenge Of Religious Diversity In 21st Century America

(178) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 10:08 AM

The past twenty years have seen tremendous engagement around racial, cultural, and gender diversity. Millenials (ages 18-29) are generally knowledgeable about such identity differences and far better equipped to have a respectful, nuanced discussion of these issues than their parents and grandparents.

Can the same be said about religious...

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Conscience and Charisma: Aung San Suu Kyi Receives the Congressional Gold Medal

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 3:41 PM

On Wednesdsay I had the extraordinary privilege of being present in the Capitol Rotunda when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to her by Congress in 2008. Daw Aung graciously told the audience that it was one of the greatest days of her...

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Stay the Course on Interfaith Dialogue

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2011 | 5:39 PM

If all goes according to current reports, some time in September, the Palestinian Authority will submit a resolution declaring statehood to the Security Council of the United Nations. While the United States and possibly other Council members are widely expected to veto the resolution, the PA may take its case...

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Aspen Summer Reveals an Old Theme

(63) Comments | Posted July 21, 2011 | 11:03 AM

Thirty years ago, when I was a law student, I lived across the landing of a Cambridge walk-up from a well-respected young scholar of French feminist studies. We had a nodding acquaintance, but I noticed one odd thing about her comings and goings. Each weekday without fail, she would come...

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Three Myths About Judicial Elections

(31) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 5:18 PM

While all eyes were on the Reid-Angle Senate battle in Nevada last week, a ballot initiative with broad bipartisan support was defeated in the Silver State. That measure, Ballot Proposition 1, inspired by scandals in the state's judicial system, would have moved Nevada from its present system of expensive, partisan...

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