National Legal Director, ACLU
Professor of Law, Georgetown University
After graduating from Yale Law School, Mr. Cole served as a law clerk to Judge Arlin M. Adams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Cole then became a staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights where he litigated a number of major First Amendment cases, including Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 928 (1990), which established that the First Amendment protects flag burning, and National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, which challenged the constitutionality of content restrictions on federal art funding. He continues to litigate First Amendment and other constitutional issues as a volunteer staff attorney at the Center.
Mr. Cole has published in a variety of areas, including civil rights, criminal justice, constitutional law and law and literature. He is the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a commentator on National Public Radio: All Things Considered, and the author of three books: Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism (New Press, 2d ed. 2005); Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties for National Security (New Press, 3d ed. 2005) (with James X. Dempsey); and No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System (New Press, 1999). Enemy Aliens received the American Book Award and the Hefner First Amendment Prize in 2004.No Equal Justice was named Best Nonfiction Book of 1999 by the Boston Book Review, best book on an issue of national policy in 1999 by the American Political Science Association, and was awarded the Alpha Sigma Nu prize from the Jesuit Honor Society in 2001. Mr. Cole has received numerous awards for his civil rights and civil liberties work, including from the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of the Freedom of Expression, the American Bar Association’s Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section, the National Lawyers Guild, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Political Asylum and Immigrants’ Rights Project, the American Muslim Council, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.