Susan Herman is the inaugural Ruth Bader Ginsburg Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. Like Ginsburg, she served as General Counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. In October 2008, Herman was elected as the seventh President of the ACLU, a position she held until stepping down in January 2021. She teaches courses in Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure, and seminars including Terrorism and Civil Liberties, Law and Literature, COVID-19 and the Constitution, and Current Issues in Constitutional Law.
Herman has written and spoken widely in the areas of Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure. Her publications include several books as well as articles in law reviews, periodicals, and online venues. Her most recent book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (Oxford University Press 2011; paperback edition 2014) was awarded the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. She has discussed constitutional law issues on radio, including a variety of NPR shows; on television, including programs on CNN, CSPAN, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS; and has been a frequent speaker at conferences and events organized by schools, universities, and law schools; by groups ranging from the Federal Judicial Center to the U.S. Army War College to Wikimania; and at international conference such as Web Summit and Collision.
She has also participated in U.S. Supreme Court litigation, writing and collaborating on Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs for the ACLU and other organizations on a range of constitutional criminal procedure issues, most recently in Riley v. California, the case in which the Supreme Court unanimously limited searches of cell phones incident to arrest.
Herman has also represented the ACLU at multiple meetings at the Senate, White House, and at events held by ACLU affiliates and many other organizations. She has received awards including the Praeses Elit award from Trinity College (Dublin), awards from Brooklyn and NYU Law Schools and Barnard College, the Japanese American Bar Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award, and she has twice been named as one of Crain’s New York Business’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York.
Herman received a B.A. from Barnard College and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Note and Comment Editor on the N.Y.U. Law Review. Before entering teaching, Professor Herman was Pro Se Law Clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Staff Attorney and then Associate Director of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York.