NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the appointment of longtime civil liberties and human rights advocate Laura Murphy as director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. Murphy previously headed the office from 1993-2005.

“Laura’s career epitomizes effective, dynamic leadership and advocacy and she is the perfect person to head our legislative office as the organization approaches its 90th anniversary and enters a new era,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “I know she will have an enormous impact on advancing the cause of civil liberties on Capitol Hill. I am delighted to welcome Laura back into the ACLU family.”

Murphy has 30 years of policy-making and political experience at the national, state and local levels. She comes to the ACLU from her own firm, Laura Murphy & Associates LLC, which has provided government relations and public policy services to corporate and nonprofit clients. Murphy is well known for her legislative advocacy on human rights and civil liberties, and has managed high-profile legislative and communications campaigns on criminal justice, First Amendment, equality and national security issues.

“I am very enthusiastic at the opportunity to head the ACLU’s legislative office during these exciting and transitional times in Washington,” said Murphy. “There is no other organization like the ACLU when it comes to protecting Americans’ fundamental rights, and I look forward to once again being part of that important mission and leading the WLO in non-partisan advocacy.”

Murphy has testified more than a dozen times before Congress and is an experienced national spokesperson. She has been a frequent guest on national public affairs programs on PBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News and National Public Radio.

Both major newspapers on Capitol Hill, Roll Call and The Hill, selected Murphy as one of the 50 most influential lobbyists and one of 17 top nonprofit lobbyists in 1997 and 2003, respectively. In 1997, and again in 2003, the Congressional Black Caucus honored her for her significant contributions to legislation that advances civil rights and civil liberties. In 2007, Murphy was given the President’s Award for Outstanding Service by the largest national civil rights coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Murphy is a graduate of Wellesley College.  She is a member of the AFRO Board of Directors, the great granddaughter of AFRO founder John H. Murphy Sr., and daughter of longtime Baltimore civil rights and political leaders, Judge William H. Murphy  Sr. and Madeline W. Murphy, a former columnist for the AFRO.

Murphy is also a direct descendant (on her mother’s side) of Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Because she was able to document her ancestry seven generations dating back to Livingston, she was invited to join the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Murphy said, “Fighting for the rights of the people is in my DNA.”