Susan Herman

Centennial Professor of Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-7945 |  Email  | CV  | Twitter
Areas of Expertise

Constitutional Law
Criminal Law
Terrorism Law

B.A., Barnard College
J.D., New York University School of Law

ACLU Blog: States Rights Arguments Aren't Just for Segregationists


Professor Susan Herman blogs about the intersection of national authority and local (states) autonomy.

Professor Susan Herman Recognized as a Woman 'Changing the World'


Professor Susan Herman’s work with the American Civil Liberties Union earned her praise as one of five “women who are changing the world” from Patch news, in honor of National Women's History Month.

Los Angeles Times: Once again, the ACLU takes its place on the front lines of a liberal resistance


Professor Susan Herman on the sudden surge in lawyer popularity: “This, in some ways for us, is like business as usual.”

The Huffington Post: Can We Fire The Electoral College? Probably Not, But We Can Put It Under New Management


Professor Susan Herman explains how the Electoral College can be fixed, based on the principle that our president should be chosen, like all other elected officials, by the straightforward popular vote.

Historical Society of the New York Courts: Love Triangles, Death, and Doubt: People v. Gillette and An American Tragedy


Professor Herman authored this blog post that examines a case that captured the public's imagination over a century ago.

Getting to the Core of the Apple/FBI Dispute


Professor Herman's essay examining whether Apple should be required to enable the government to crack the security of the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, the deceased gunman who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California in 2015.

In TIME Magazine Professor Susan Herman Explores the Role of the First Amendment in Recent Campus Activism


In a column that appeared in TIME Magazine’s Ideas section, “ACLU President: We Didn’t Always Have Free Speech,” Professor Susan Herman points to the recent student protests at the University of Missouri as another important chapter in the longstanding battle for free speech and racial equality.

TIME Magazine: The ACLU of the Future May Protect Robot Rights


Professor Susan Herman explains why robots might share our rights if they functioned as our intelligent and independent agents.

Op-ed: ACLU, Heritage Foundation agree: Reform forfeiture laws


Professor Susan Herman co-authored this op-ed that appeared in the Des Moines Register that specifically lays out the myriad reasons to re-examine forfeiture laws.

Professor Susan Herman Interviewed by Thought Economics


Professor Susan Herman was interviewed in this examination of issues ranging from the concept of democracy to free speech, civil liberties, war and terrorism, human rights, social justice and more.

Professor Susan Herman Discusses First Amendment at Jerusalem Press Club


Professor Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, participated in a panel at the international conference on the “Freedom of the Press” hosted by the Jerusalem Press Club. The panel of lawyers and journalists weighed the contemporary state of freedom of the press and threats to journalists with the attempt to fight terrorism.

Professor Susan Herman speaks about "Protecting Civil Liberties in the Digital Age" at Grace Cathedral


About the lecture: "Surveillance, censorship, invasion of privacy: many people, including thought-leaders and legislators on both sides of the aisle, think the law is lagging behind technology when it comes to protecting our rights and liberties. But current legislation continues to allow the government to intercept and access a treasure trove of information about who you are, where you go, and what you do, data that are collected by cell phone providers, search engines, social networking sites, and other websites every day. Susan N. Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, is our guide to understanding how we can preserve our civil liberties without compromising public safety and national security."

German Marshall Fund: Brussels Forum 2015: Countering the New Wave of Terrorism at Home and Abroad


Professor Susan Herman discusses how Western nations should balance civil liberties concerns in developing programs to combat threats from extremist groups such as ISIS.

ACLU President Susan Herman Speaks at College of Charleston Political Science Convocation


Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, spoke about “Civil Liberties and the ‘War on Terror.’” Her talk focused on the time-period after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when, according to Herman, the government “supersized laws and loosened the Constitution.” She provided a number of accounts over the past 14 years where the lives of American citizens, immigrants, and foreign students studying in the United States were disrupted because of FBI investigations.

Professor Susan Herman Quoted Slate Article


Professor Susan Herman was quoted in a Slate article titled “The History of the Pocket Constitution” on January 28, 2015.

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.

Professor Susan Herman Comments on Snowden and Surveillance in New Interviews


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.

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


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.

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


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.

Professor Susan Herman Contributes to New Book, Learning from Precedent


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.

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.

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."

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.”

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.

Professor Susan Herman on the Affects of the Patriot Act on Lawyers in the American Lawyer


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.

Professor Susan Herman Interviewed by Thought Economics Blog


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.

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.

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."

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.