David Cole

Founding Editor

David Cole (@DavidColeACLU) is National Legal Director of the ACLU and a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of seven books, and his books have received multiple awards, including the American Book Award for Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism.

He has litigated many significant constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, which extended First Amendment protection to flagburning; National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, which challenged political content restriction on NEA funding; and most recently, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which challenged the constitutionality of the statute prohibiting “material support” to terrorist groups, which makes speech advocating peace and human rights a crime.

New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis has called David “one of the country’s great legal voices for civil liberties today,” and Nat Hentoff has called him “a one-man Committee of Correspondence in the tradition of patriot Sam Adams.” David has received numerous awards for his human rights work, including most recently the inaugural Norman Dorsen Prize from the ACLU for lifetime commitment to civil liberties.

Areas of Expertise: Constitutional Law, Courts and Judges, Criminal Law and Procedure, National Security, Military, War and Peace, Surveillance, Civil Liberties

Selected Media Appearances
“Gun Show Loophole” – MSNBC (The Ed Show)

Debate: Does Spying Keep Us Safe? – NPR (Intelligence Squared U.S.)
Your Digital Trail: Does The Fourth Amendment Protect Us? – NPR (All Things Considered)

Time to End the Spying Game – The Nation
President Obama, did or did you not kill Anwar al-Awlaki?The Washington Post
Rewarding Impunity – Foreign Policy
Obama At U.N. To Remind World Of His Policy Goals
The Memos: Torture Redefined – The New York Times (Room for Debate)

Articles by this author:

We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban


Mar 6th, 2017

We’ll See You in Court: Why Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees Violates the Establishment Clause


Jan 28th, 2017

Why Trump’s Proposed Targeting of Muslims Would be Unconstitutional


Nov 21st, 2016

Donald Trump’s Wall, David Rieff’s Long War, and the Dangers of Fear-Mongering


Jul 25th, 2016

Michael Ratner, RIP


May 11th, 2016

Engines of Liberty: How Civil Society Helped Restore Constitutional Rights in the Aftermath of 9/11


Mar 28th, 2016

The Course of Least Resistance: Ignoring the Lessons of History in Responding to ISIS


Nov 23rd, 2015

The False Choice of Opposing Torture or Endless War: A Response to Samuel Moyn


Oct 13th, 2015

No Torture Means No Torture – Why We Need the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment


Jun 10th, 2015

Sunsets Need Sunshine:  What We Can Learn from the USA Freedom Act


Jun 2nd, 2015

“New Torture Files”: Declassified Memos Detail Roles of Bush White House and DOJ Officials Who Conspired to Approve Torture


Mar 2nd, 2015

On Rereading the Torture Report – SSCI Focus Gave Too Many Perpetrators a Pass


Feb 22nd, 2015

Unfinished Business: The Trickle-Down Effects of the War on ISIS on Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law


Sep 22nd, 2014

No, You Can’t Strip Americans of their Citizenship, Senator Cruz: The Folly of the Expatriate Terrorists Act


Sep 17th, 2014

The Problems with Counterterrorism Stings: A Response to Samuel Rascoff


Jul 24th, 2014

On the Benefits of Transparency: Why So Long to Disclose Drone Memo?


Jun 24th, 2014

Collect It All!: Newly Released NSA Documents Reveal Omnivorous Appetite for our Private Data


May 13th, 2014

Why Civil Libertarians and Drone Critics Should Support David Barron


May 12th, 2014

Michael Hayden:  “We Kill People Based on Metadata”


May 10th, 2014

Why Can’t We Even Say How Many We Have Killed?


Apr 30th, 2014

An End to Dragnet Surveillance?


Mar 24th, 2014

Can Congress Protect Digital Privacy from NSA Spying?


Feb 4th, 2014

The Disconnect between Theory and Practice in Obama’s NSA Speech


Jan 18th, 2014

Data-Mining, Section 215, and Regulating the Government’s Use of Stored Data: The Overlooked, but More Important, Question About NSA Surveillance

by and

Dec 23rd, 2013