Susan Herman

Centennial Professor of Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-7945 |  Email  | CV
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law
Terrorism Law
B.A., Barnard College
J.D., New York University School of Law

Professor Susan Herman Quoted Slate Article

1/28/2015 Professor Susan Herman was quoted in an article titled “The History of the Pocket Constitution” that appeared on Slate January 28, 2015. The article traces the history of the miniature prints of the Constitution, recently made popular again by conservative activists. While its history does not necessarily adhere to political affiliation, its use as powerful visual prop traces back to the early, 1960s and its first bout of popularity came about because of Watergate. “That was really important, because Watergate was so much a moment of paying attention to the Constitution,” Herman said. “The fact that there was this visual and personal symbol of somebody who was paying very careful attention to exactly what the Constitution said I think was really important in the history of the Watergate hearings.”  Read More

PBS Interview with Professor Susan Herman Aired Sept. 13

BLS Professor and ACLU President Susan Herman was interviewed by Alexander Heffner on the PBS Series "Open Mind" on Saturday, September 13.
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Professor Susan Herman Comments on Snowden and Surveillance in New Interviews

3/7/2014 Professor Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, was interviewed by Pasadena Weekly and The Santa Barbara Independent in advance of her appearances on the West Coast next week. Her talk, titled “Civil Liberties in National Security Era: What Happened to Edward Snowden?,” will explore the balance between safety and maintaining basic rights – a theme drawn in part from her book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (2011), recently published in paperback.   Read More

Professor Susan Herman Discusses Historic Supreme Court Decisions on Smiley & West Radio Show

7/3/2013 In a radio interview with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, BLS Professor and ACLU President Susan Herman commented on a week of extraordinary Supreme Court rulings, from changes to the Voting Rights Act to the strike down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.  Read More

Professor Susan Herman Argues Against Detaining American Citizens as “Enemy Combatants” in U.S. News & World Report Op-ed

4/25/2013 In light of the Boston bombing, Professor Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, argues in U.S. News & World Report against detaining an American citizen suspected of committing a crime within the United States as an enemy combatant. Such detention is “illegal, unconstitutional, unnecessary and unsettling,” according to Professor Herman—especially when federal investigators and prosecutors, with local assistance, are showing themselves to be “fully capable” of handling the case.   Read More

Professor Susan Herman Contributes to New Book, Learning from Precedent

7/19/2012 Professor Susan Herman recently contributed to Learning from Precedent, a new book for prospective law students. The author, an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, published the book based on interviews he had with prominent lawyers while deciding whether or not to apply to law school.  Read More

Professor Susan Herman Interviewed on NY1 About Her New Book

Professor Susan Herman was interviewed by NY1 to discuss her new book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. The book explores the effects that anti-terrorist tactics have had on all Americans and what can be learned from the past ten years from the Patriot Act ten years later.
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Professor Susan Herman Speaks to Reuters about Safety Ten Years After 9/11

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars on national security and also holds more power than ever to investigate the private lives of citizens in the name of safety. Professor Susan Herman spoke to Reuters on the affects that laws such as the Patriot Act have had on American society. "Ten years later, if we are still in this emergency mindset, then this is now who we are. This is the new normal," she explained. "At some point if you don't reverse that process you really have moved yourself into an Orwellian state."
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Professor Susan Herman Comments on Civil Liberties in Post-9/11 America in the New York Times

In the New York Times' special 9/11 report, Professor Susan Herman commented on the detrimental affects of the Patriot Act on privacy and the judicial branch's disregard for civil liberties challenges in post-9/11 America. “The Fourth Amendment has been seriously diluted,” she said. “The amount of surveillance that’s been unleashed with less and less judicial review and less and less individualized suspicion.”
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Professor Susan Herman Discusses Business and The Fourth Amendment on CNBC

Professor Susan Herman was a guest writer for CNBC's blog "Bullish on Books" to discuss how post-9/11 surveillance measures have undermined The Fourth Amendment, and thereby have negatively affected American business.
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Professor Susan Herman on the Affects of the Patriot Act on Lawyers in the American Lawyer

9/1/2011 In an op-ed for the American Lawyer, Professor Susan Herman discusses how the overreach of the Patriot Act not only affects ordinary Americans, but also the professional lives of lawyers. She outlines how the controversial law can require attorneys to receive the government's permission to represent certain clients and can even suggest that a lawyer has supported materially supported terrorists.  Read More

Professor Susan Herman Interviewed by Thought Economics Blog

7/6/2011 Thought Economics, a blog that publishes one on one interviews with the some of the most influential people around the world, spoke with Professor Susan Herman in a post on the leading experts on justice. In the interview, Professor Herman touches on the role and purpose of law in society, free speech and censorship, and justice in the third world.  Read More

Professor Susan Herman to Speak at University of Nebraska College of Law on National Security


American Civil Liberties Union President and Brooklyn Law School Professor Susan Herman will speak on national securities issues and Guantanamo at the University of Nebraska, College of Law. Her lecture, “How the Bush/Obama War on Terror Threatens Ordinary Americans, Constitutional Rights, and Democracy” is based on her upcoming book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of America Democracy.

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Professor Susan Herman Quoted on My Daily Constitution Event in the New York Post


The New York Post publicized My Daily Constitution's weekend celebration of the First Amendment. Professor Susan Herman, President of the ACLU, presented at the event and said, "The Constitution makes us the government of this country. Not knowing what’s in the Constitution is like being an umpire in a ballgame and not knowing the rules."

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Professor Susan Herman Responds to Campaign Finance Restriction and the ACLU

In response to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Professor Joel Gora, as well as Floyd Abrams and Ira Glasser, Professor Susan Herman, who is also President of the ACLU Board of Directors, wrote a letter to the editor of the Journal, defending the ACLU's new position on campaign finance restriction. She emphasized the group’s thorough discussion of the issue before shifting its policy: “The decision to revise the policy in order to permit reasonable limits on contributions to candidates is an acknowledgment that very large contributions may lead to undue influence or corruption that can undermine the integrity of the electoral process.”
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Professor Herman Headlines Debate on Patriot Act


Professor Susan Herman headlined the 26th annual Jefferson B. Fordham debate at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law about the Patriot Act, which will be reexamined by Congress this year. The Patriot Act was passed soon after the September 11 attacks in an attempt at counterterrorism, but has been criticized for unfairly targeting innocent people. Professor Herman, who is also the President of the ACLU, argued, "There is a tremendous cost to all these broad laws," mentioning those innocents who have lost jobs, abilities to travel freely in and out of the U.S., and even those who were prosecuted for unknowingly donating to charities associated with terrorist groups.

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Professor Herman Named Alumna of the Month by NYU School of Law


Professor Susan Herman was named September Alumna of the Month by New York University School of Law for her work with the American Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.

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Prof. Herman Speaks at Annual Scolnik Dinner


Professor Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, was the featured speaker at the annual Scolnik Dinner in Freeport, Maine. Sponsored by the Main Civil Liberties Union, the Scolnik Dinner is held each year to pay tribute to an outstanding Maine lawyer in the field of civil rights. The 2009 honoree was James Mitchell who challenged Maine’s Sex Offender Registry law.


Professor Herman Speaks at Rutgers School of Law-Newark Women's Rights Law Reporter Symposium


The Rutgers School of Law-Newark will hold a symposium on March 6 entitled "The Gender Dimensions on Terrorism: How Terrorism Impacts the Lives of Women." The symposium is hosted by the Women's Rights Law Reporter, the nation's oldest legal periodical on women's rights law, and will feature several prominent legal experts, including Professor Susan Herman, President of the ACLU.

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Professor Susan Herman Elected President of ACLU

Brooklyn Law School Centennial Professor of Law Susan Herman was elected president of the American Civil Liberties Union on October 18. She is a well-regarded expert on the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law. As ACLU president, Herman will preside over an 83-member board of civil libertarians, consult with the ACLU executive director on major decisions, and act as an ACLU spokesperson.
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Professor Herman Co-Edits "War on Terror" Text Book


Susan Herman, Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, has co-edited a book based on the first symposium held to examine issues of federalism raised by the “war on terror.” Titled Terrorism, Government, and Law: National Authority and Local Autonomy in the War on Terror (Praeger Security International 2008) (co-editor P. Finkelman), the book features the work of contributors from the David G. Trager Public Policy Symposium, “Our New Federalism? National Authority and Local Autonomy in the War on Terror,” which Professor Herman organized at Brooklyn Law School in November 2003.

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Professor Herman on the Law and 9/11

Professor Susan N. Herman’s op-ed article, “Five Years Later: Law and the Fog of 9/11,” was published in the forum section of the online legal news and research Web site, JURIST, on September 11, 2006. In the article, Professor Herman argues that the lingering fog of the 9/11 attacks has clouded our perceptions, blurred our legal categories, and perhaps also compromised our judgment. She wrote, "Within a few weeks or months, 9/11 became a fount of law. On September 18, Congress authorized the President to use force to counter terrorism, and on October 26, with remarkable unanimity and little debate, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act, which confidently described itself as “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” By then, 9/11 had also become politics.
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Professor Herman at Court of Appeals Analyzes Dreiser's "An American Tragedy"


Susan N. Herman, Centennial Professor of Law, presented a compelling analysis of a 100-year old murder case and the classic novel that it inspired, “An American Tragedy,” by Theodore Dreiser, at the New York State Court of Appeals on June 26. She spoke as part of a lecture series co-sponsored by the Court and the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, and hosted by Chief Judge Judith Kaye. Also on the program was Francesca Zambello, the acclaimed director of an opera based upon the novel that had its world premiere in 2005 at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Professor Herman Comments on Alito Senate Judiciary Hearings on MSNBC


Professor Susan N. Herman, Centennial Professor of Law, was interviewed by Dan Abrams on MSNBC-TV News Live on the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. Herman, a widely regarded expert on Supreme Court decisions, and co-panelist Adam Ciongoli, a former law clerk to Judge Alito, commented on the Judge’s answers concerning Roe v. Wade and the role of stare decisis, the legal doctrine of respecting past precedent. Herman also spoke about broader issues of the philosophy of judicial review and judicial views about federalism.

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