Knight First Ammendment Institute at Columbia University
Jameel Jaffer is the Knight Institute’s Inaugural Director. He previously served as Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU, where he oversaw the organization’s work on free speech, privacy, technology, national security, and international human rights. He has argued civil liberties cases in multiple appeals courts as well as the U.S. Supreme Court and has testified many times before federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. While at the ACLU, he led or co-led litigation teams that compelled the Bush administration to disclose the “torture memos,” compelled the Obama administration to disclose the “drone memos,” and compelled the National Security Agency to abandon its dragnet surveillance of Americans’ call records. He also played a major part in the ACLU’s decision to take on the representation of Edward Snowden. His recent writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Yale Law Journal Forum. He is an executive editor of Just Security, a national security blog, and his most recent book, The Drone Memos, was published by The New Press in the fall of 2016. He is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School. Early in his legal career, he served as a law clerk to Hon. Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then to Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada.