Last updated on: 11/6/2017 | Author:

Sheila Suess Kennedy, JD Biography

Professor and Director of Public Affairs Programs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Pro to the question "Is the ACLU Good for America?"

“The ACLU has been the pre-eminent protector of the individual liberties protected by the Bill of Rights. Today, when there are many other legal organizations and public interest law firms that focus on constitutional issues and the rights of individuals, it can be easy to overlook the role that the ACLU played in defining how Americans understand individual liberty. We sometimes forget that the U.S. Constitution is not self-enforcing; that is, unless a lawsuit is brought that successfully asserts that a governmental action violates the Constitution or Bill of Rights, nothing will happen, and the violation will continue. That means that violations of the rights of people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer will not be redressed.
<br/ ><br/ >In the 1920’s, when the ACLU was founded, there were no organizations willing to represent people without charge in order to insure government compliance with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The ACLU represented workers trying to form unions, and was virtually the only predominantly white organization to oppose racism and denounce the then-resurgent Ku Klux Klan. The organization has been instrumental in a majority of important Supreme Court cases protecting free speech, religious liberty, due process and other important rights.”

Email to, Oct. 17, 2017

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor and Director of Public Affairs Programs, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 1998-present
  • Executive Director, Indiana Civil Liberties Union, 1992-1998
  • President, Kennedy Development Services, 1987-1992
  • Partner, Mears Crawford Kennedy and Eichholtz, 1980-1986
  • Republican Candidate, 11th Congressional District, 1980
  • Corporation Counsel, City of Indianapolis, 1977-1980
  • Associate Attorney, Baker and Daniels, 1975-1977
  • JD, cum laude, Indiana University School of Law, 1975
  • BS, Education, Indiana University, 1964
  • AA, Stephens College for Women, 1960
  • Professional affiliations include: Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Leadership Celebration, American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, American Society for Public Administration, Indiana Society for Public Administration, Law and Society Association
  • Awards received include: Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement, 2010; Trustee Teaching Award, IUPUI, 2009; Outstanding Alumni of the Year, IU School of Law–Indianapolis, 2008; Robert Risk Award for Lifetime Achievement, ACLU of Indiana, 2008; Johnson Award for Best Paper in Ethics and Accountability, 2005; Champion of Liberty Award from the Marion County Libertarians, 2004; Building Bridges of Understanding Award from Indy Choruses, 2004; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2004, 2005; Citation of Excellence, Emerald Management Independent Review Board; IUPUI’s Outstanding Female Faculty, 2002; Who’s Who in America, 2002; Jencks Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Law in Indiana, 2002; Indiana Liberty Award, Lambda Legal Defense, 2001; American Library Association, 30th Anniversary Roll of Honor, Office for Intellectual Freedom and Freedom to Read Foundation, 1999
Quoted in:
  1. Is the ACLU Good for America?
  2. Does the ACLU Undermine the War on Terror?
  3. Is the ACLU Anti-Religion?