- President of American Civil Liberties Union
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Anthony D. Romero was named president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in September 2001, just a week before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He says that “[l]eading the ACLU [is] a life’s dream and aspiration come true.”
An attorney with a history of public-interest activism, Romero presided over the ACLU’s most successful membership drive ever, garnering some 75,000 new members during his first year at the organization’s helm. He is the ACLU's sixth executive director, and the first openly gay man to fill that role. Prior to joining the ACLU, Romero led the Ford Foundation's Human Rights and International Cooperation Program, which became, under his leadership, Ford’s largest grant-making unit. Romero is a strong supporter of racial and ethnic preferences for minorities in business and academia, the gerrymandering of voting districts along racial lines, taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, expanded rights and privileges for illegal aliens, and the radical feminist and gay agendas. Romero was also the Ford Foundation’s Program Officer for Civil Rights and Racial Justice for nearly five years. Moreover, he spent two years leading a Rockefeller Foundation effort to plan future strategies in civil-rights advocacy.
Romero is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He sits on several not-for-profit boards and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the New York State Bar Association.
In July 2007, the Capital Research Center reported: “With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, aircraft maker Boeing is being sued by three suspected al-Qaida operatives transported by the CIA to Arab countries for interrogation … The lawsuit alleges a Boeing subsidiary helped the intelligence agency fly the detainees to Egypt and Morocco knowing they would be tortured by authorities there under its controversial ‘rendition’ program. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said U.S. companies should not profit from a program that is ‘unlawful and contrary to core American values,’ and that such businesses ‘should be held legally accountable.’ The action was brought under the Alien Tort Statute using a legal technique perfected by the Center for Constitutional Rights …”
In the wake of the April 15, 2013 incident where two Chechen terrorists detonated bombs on a crowded street during the Boston Marathon (killing 3 and wounding more than 170), the U.S. government captured one of the perpetrators alive and -- invoking a rare public safety exception triggered by immediate public-safety concerns -- announced that he would not be read his Miranda rights prior to being interrogated. Romero condemned that decision, saying: “Every criminal defendant is entitled to be read Miranda rights. The public safety exception should be read narrowly. It applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is not an open-ended exception to the Miranda rule."