The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: March 5, 2002

ACLU legal director Steve Shapiro guest practitioner at law school

Americans Civil Liberties Union legal director Steve Shapiro -- who has at once been praised and criticized about his opinions on civil liberties, election reform and a host of other issues -- will visit the University of Iowa College of Law March 7-8 as the college's Daum Practitioner in Residence. During his visit he will address the topic "Lawyering for the ACLU: Issues and Trends in Civil Liberties Litigation" and will meet with the public at 4 p.m. Thursday in Room 285 of the Boyd Law Building.

The ACLU participates in more Supreme Court cases each year than any other private organization. In the 2001 court term, the ACLU filed 18 amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs to the high court, including an amicus brief on behalf of Mario Echazabal. At issue in Chevron U.S.A. v. Echazabal, which the high court heard last month, is whether a company has the right to deny a job to a worker when that job might pose a health risk to the worker, and whether a worker is entitled to make such a job-risk decision under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

UI College of Law professor Margaret Raymond has worked to bring Shapiro as a guest to the law school. James Tomkovicz, UI law professor, has worked with the ACLU on a series of court cases, most recently in 2001 when he wrote a brief for the ACLU in Kyllo v. U.S., a case won by an Oregonian man who questioned the police's use of thermal imaging devices to conduct searches. And in 1998, Tomkovicz wrote a friend of the court brief at the ACLU request in Knowles v. Iowa, a search and seizure case successfully argued before the Supreme Court.

Shapiro oversees a staff of 50 lawyers who are involved in a host of civil liberties cases across the nation. As director, he supervises all of the ACLU's litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He graduated from Harvard Law School and was clerk to Judge J. Edward Lumbard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit prior to joining the ACLU in 1976. Shapiro is an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School and is a frequent speaker on civil liberties issues. He sits on the board of directors of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch/Asia.