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Tanya M. Acker
Tanya Acker is a practicing attorney and political, social and legal commentator. Her appearances include CBS’ The Early Show; ABC’s Good Morning America; CNN’s Larry King Live, CNN Reports and Anderson Cooper 360; HLN’s Prime News and Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell; Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor and Your World With Neil Cavuto; CNBC’s CNBC Reports, OraTv's Larry King Now and numerous appearances on Sky News and GMTV in Great Britain. She has guest co-hosted CNBC’s Power Lunch, been featured as a guest instructor on social responsibility on VH1’s Charm School and discussed political scandals on the E! Channel. Tanya also was cast in a CBS primetime television pilot, created and produced by the creators of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, in which she worked with individuals in challenging situations and helped them resolve their crises. Tanya has contributed both to CNN’s and the Huffington Post, and has been featured in a C Magazine profile on noteworthy California women in politics.

Tanya graduated from Yale Law School; while at Yale, she represented indigent women in family law cases and served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses in the law school. Tanya worked at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice, and the private law firms Irell & Manella, O’Melveny & Myers, and Williams & Connolly. There, she assisted President Clinton’s personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation, and researched First Amendment issues.

After graduating law school, Tanya served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her duties during that appointment included advising and making recommendations to Judge Nelson and other Ninth Circuit judges about rulings on a broad variety of cases, and preparing Judge Nelson for oral arguments on matters before the Court.

Tanya was awarded a Bristow Fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General at the United States Department of Justice, where drafted briefs on behalf of the Government before the United States Supreme Court. Tanya also assisted the Solicitor General in his preparation for various oral arguments before the High Court, including the Clinton v. Jones case, where she participated in preparations with both the Solicitor General and President Clinton’s personal attorneys.

Tanya also has worked in the private sector, including at the law firms of Latham & Watkins and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Her work spanned a broad variety of cases, including state Supreme Court matters, corporate litigation involving public and private entities, and various constitutional cases. Tanya received the ACLU’s First Amendment Award for her successful representation of the homeless in a case against the City of Santa Barbara. Tanya later joined the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign in California, where she worked in entertainment industry outreach. After that, she was appointed Deputy Campaign Manager for the Los Angeles mayoral campaign of City Councilman Bernard C. Parks.

Tanya has been a featured speaker at conferences hosted by the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School, has moderated political forums hosted by Common Cause, and was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter of the English Speaking Union, where she gave a historical perspective on American international engagement.

Tanya received her B.A. degree from Howard University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University, and served there as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women’s Magazine. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.

Tanya sits on the boards of EmeraChem LLC, a Tennessee manufacturer dedicated to the development of emissions reduction products, and Hunt Investors LLC. She also serves on the boards of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest provider of free legal services, the Western Justice Center, which promotes alternative dispute resolution, and Special Spaces, which builds dream bedrooms for children battling life-threatening illnesses.

Entries by Tanya M. Acker

When 'Accommodating' the Other Side Gets Expensive

(3) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 6:49 PM

Big, expensive fights often have potential future unintended consequences that attract little attention in the heat of battle. Take the Michael Jackson/AEG trial, for instance. The Jackson plaintiffs claimed that AEG was liable for Conrad Murray's criminal negligence because AEG had allegedly "demanded and required" that Jackson hire Murray. AEG...

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Big Thinking at Fortune's "Brainstorm Green": Why Are We Politicizing Good, New Ideas?

(7) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 5:24 PM

During Fortune's recent "Brainstorm Green" conference, a panel of biofuel executives discussed the scalability of algae fuel technologies, which present an exciting new(ish) front in the energy equation. Richard Branson thinks that commercializing the fuels for use in jets would be "not so difficult" and both...

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When They Think Small, We Stay Home

(1) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 3:25 PM

Only 16 percent of Los Angeles' registered voters turned out in the March primary election. Here we are: Our public schools can't afford to keep their doors open for a full school year; our families and friends are usually many miles away with no economical, efficient way for...

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There Is Nothing More to Say About This Story Except Just to Tell It

(3) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 11:43 AM

I was in the middle of dinner with a friend recently when he realized he'd left his wallet in the car and went to the valet to retrieve it. He returned with a story about an apparently disturbed man loitering in front of the restaurant and asking patrons for rides....

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Atlas Shrugged and the Political Triumph of Myth

(6) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 3:30 PM

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 just came out in theatres.

The book is better, my liking for it being one of the few things I have in common these days with Congressman Ryan (other than a healthy respect for his abs).

Dagny Taggart and the rest of the heroes in...

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Move Over Real Housewives, It's Time for Fun With Secret Donors

(1) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 2:32 PM

American politics never was supposed to be a process in which we all "just got along." Among the benefits of having a far-reaching federal government, thought the Founders, was that it would ensure the participation of diverse and discordant voices; that an "increased variety of parties" would protect against "one...

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Since Johnny Can't Read, He Probably Can't Spell 'Big Government' Either

(12) Comments | Posted May 18, 2012 | 1:58 PM

Austerity is under attack! First, Francois Hollande swept Sarkozy from the French presidency, and then Angela Merkel's party took a pounding in German regional elections. Sweet vindication, perhaps, for opponents of the EU fiscal pact, who certainly had good reason to resent certain of the belt-tightening measures advocated by the...

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Ditch the Xanax: Why the Metropolitan Museum Is a Better Cure for American Grumpiness

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 12:10 PM

On January 16, 2012, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will open new painting galleries in the American Wing. The opening is happening just in time. I think we all need a bit of a breather.

I am neither an art connoisseur nor historian but I find the Museum therapeutic and...

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Notes on Some Wild, Crazy Days in the USA - The Best Reality Show EVER!

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2011 | 2:42 PM

Outside the Conrad Murray trial, a Murray supporter described the doctor as a saint. A few hours later, someone else told me Michael Jackson was Jesus. While I think it unlikely that either of these enthusiasts had it exactly right, I didn't tell them that. They seemed very convinced....

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The Conrad Murray Trial: Medicine, Money and Patient Care

(22) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 4:48 PM

It is never easy to predict the twists and turns that the latest high-profile trial will take and Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter case is no different. But while the trial is sure to feature all the usual bells and whistles that attend these excursions into celebrity justice, when...

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Pantyhose and Patriots: The Big Government Time Machine

(6) Comments | Posted September 16, 2011 | 12:22 PM

During World War II (back when everybody agreed that we should pay for our wars) the government asked women to turn in their hosiery, which was used to make powder bags in naval artillery guns. By the end of September 1943, about 46 million pairs of hosiery had been...

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To African-American Men With (Tremendous!) Benefits: Merry Christmas from Senator Coburn

(1) Comments | Posted August 23, 2011 | 11:33 AM

Some have maintained that it was racist for Senator Tom Coburn to suggest that President Obama wants to "create dependency" on government because he obtained a "tremendous benefit" from governmental programs as an African-American man.


Everyone knows Big Government loves nothing more...

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It Takes Strength to Compromise -- and It Costs Less Too

(5) Comments | Posted July 23, 2011 | 5:55 PM

There is a lot of discussion these days about the detriments of compromise. When you compromise, for instance, certain people may claim you don't stick to your guns and decide not to vote for you. They may disparage you for refusing the black and white principles elucidated in whatever sort...

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Facing the Beast for the Sake of Clean Energy

(35) Comments | Posted February 26, 2011 | 3:55 PM

Forget the rantings of the "spotted owl" crowd -- when Exxon says we're running out of oil, we should get nervous. In the company's most recent fiscal report, it revealed that for every 100 barrels of oil it has pumped over the past ten years it has...

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Shame on you, Harry Reid

(15) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 4:04 PM

When I heard about the "split" in the Democratic party between Harry Reid and President Obama regarding the building of the mosque near Ground Zero, and as I listened to Senator Reid voice his objections to the mosque, my first thought was that the Senator should know better.

While tight...

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Oh Bill O'Reilly -- It's "Our" Country, Too

(42) Comments | Posted June 9, 2010 | 10:11 AM

I recently was asked to appear on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss the Los Angeles Unified School District's ("LAUSD") reaction to Arizona's controversial immigration law. The school board had passed a resolution providing that LAUSD schools would teach students about the law in the context of other provisions that compromised...

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Hypocritical Outrage: Why the Process of Engineering This Health Reform Bill Is No Uglier Than the Rest of Congress' Handiwork

(2) Comments | Posted January 4, 2010 | 11:15 AM

Twice last week I was on panels with Republicans who expressed surprise about the "unseemly" tactics employed by Democrats in passing health care reform. The horsetrading was so "venal!" The process so "hyperpartisan!" Noble Americans, we should all be so very shocked!

Well, not really.

Those decrying the "hyperpartisanship"...

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On 'Town Halls' and Health Care Reform: Wasn't Hitler the One With the Gun?

(6) Comments | Posted August 24, 2009 | 11:07 AM

There are a bunch of unhappy citizens purporting to "discuss" health care reform while toting guns to Presidential events, waving caricatures of a character I am supposed to recognize as "Adolf Obama," and brandishing the "Tree of Liberty" motto donned by Timothy McVeigh before he blew up the Federal Building...

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Forget Paper vs. Plastic -- For the American Right, Gay Marriage is the New Green

(15) Comments | Posted June 9, 2009 | 6:20 PM

Here is a well-kept secret. Notwithstanding its efforts to ignore, marginalize, or dismiss environmental science, the American right is creating an environmental movement of its own.

This one, however, has very little to do with preserving the earth or its resources but instead is premised on some quite remarkable...

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Don't Kill the Lawyers -- Yet

(10) Comments | Posted March 26, 2009 | 5:20 PM

When asked about why he consented to the payment of the despised AIG bonuses, executive Edward Liddy cited, among other reasons, the threat of litigation.

Ending up in Court these days, even when truth is on your side, is as appealing a proposition as eating a sand sandwich while...

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