The American Civil Liberties Union elected a new president on Saturday, choosing a constitutional law scholar who said she would reach out to African-Americans and to religious communities where the group has often been viewed more as foe than friend.
“We plan to reach out to communities where the ACLU is not well-known or not well-understood,” said Brooklyn Law School professor Susan Herman, the organization’s general counsel until the vote.
Herman said she believed she was selected in part because of her ability to explain constitutional issues simply and because her background as a professor could help her reach out to a younger generation of potential members.
She said the group may also expand its presence internationally, becoming more involved in civil liberties violations overseas.
The group describes Herman as a Supreme Court expert with a focus on criminal procedure. She has written two books on civil liberties and appeared as a commentator on cable and network news shows.
Herman worked as an ACLU intern while still in law school and has since served on its board of directors, written Supreme Court briefs for the organization and lobbied Congress on the group’s behalf.