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Shapiro Named ACLU Legal Director;
Assumes Mantle of Extensive Program Facing Growing Challenges
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 1993
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that
Steven R. Shapiro has been appointed Legal Director, assuming the
leadership of an extensive litigation program that faces increasing
challenges as it seeks to insure basic civil liberties and individual
rights for all Americans.
A longtime litigator for the ACLU, Shapiro has most recently served
as Associate Legal Director since 1987. As such, his responsibilities
have included direct management of the ACLU's work in the Supreme Court.
The ACLU regularly files more briefs in the Supreme Court than anyone
other than the United States government. Among many other cases, Shapiro
successfully argued before the Supreme Court in a lawsuit contesting the
government's right to bar foreign speakers from the United States because
of their political views. Shapiro also prevailed in the first federal
lawsuit holding that prosecutors could not use their peremptory challenges
to exclude prospective jurors on the basis of race.
"It is a privilege and an opportuntiy," Shapiro said, "to take over
the ACLU's national Legal Department at a time when the basic First
Amendment values that the organization has stood for the last 70 years are
under increasing attack, when the racial inequalities that plague the
society demand ever more creative solutions, when the problems of crime
place increasing pressures on government to shortcut basic constitutional
"I look forward to working with my ACLU colleagues around the country
in working to devise solutions to these difficult, but not unsurmountable,
challenges," Shapiro said.
After being graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in
1975, Shapiro clerked for a year for Chief Judge J. Edward Lumbard of the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then joined the New York
Civil Liberties Union -- first, as staff counsel with its Children's
Rights Project, then as a general staff counsel. In 1987, he was appointed
Associate Legal Director of the national ACLU.
Shapiro has also served as an adjunct professor at several law
schools and a guest lecturer at others. In 1981, he was named Civil Rights
Lawyer of the year by The American Lawyer. He serves on the Board of
Directors of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and the Fund for Free
Expression, a division of Human Rights Watch.
"Steve begins his tenure as Legal Director at a difficult time for
the ACLU, a time when the continued, and, in some cases growing, burden of
civil liberties work is not matched by an accurate public perception of
that burden, which has resulted in a rising tide of work and a decreasing
base of support," said Ira Glasser, ACLU Executive Director. "Steve's
well-deserved reputation for intelligence, his analytic ability,
articulateness and collegiality provide us with an extraordinary asset,
made all the more valuable by his 17 years of ACLU experience."
Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has been seen as the preeminent
protector of individual liberties in the United States. With national
offices in New York, Washington, Atlanta and Denver, and affiliate
organizations in every state, the ACLU has 45 national staff lawyers and
and an equal number with it's affiliates nationwide. With the additonal
help of thousands of cooperating attorneys, the ACLU is involved with more
than 6,000 legal actions at any one time.
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