David D. Cole

David D. Cole
David D. Cole
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  • Profession: National Legal Director









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David D. Cole is the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Before joining the ACLU in July 2016, Cole was the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at the Georgetown University Law Center from March 2014 through December 2016. He has published in various legal fields including constitutional law, national security, criminal justice, civil rights, and law and literature. Cole has litigated several significant First Amendment cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, as well a number of influential cases concerning civil rights and national security. He is also a legal correspondent to several mainstream media outlets and publications.

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… whether torture works, a major preoccupation of the Senate report, is the wrong question. The World’s governments did not negotiate a treaty banning it [torture] under all circumstances because it’s ineffective. They did so because it is immoral, inhumane, and unacceptable—even if it works. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Our criminal justice system affirmatively depends on inequality. Justice & Injustice
Prosecutors are assessed by their win-loss records, not by whether they have furthered the cause of justice. Justice & Injustice
The truth about torture is that when government agents are given a green light to treat other human beings without the most basic respect for their dignity, they will inevitably engage in abuse. Torture transgresses the most basic of moral principles: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The only way to live with the practice, from the interrogator’s point of view, is to deny the humanity of those being subjected to it. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
There are .. two choices: obedience to institutional authority or radical dissent from it. Riots ;Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
There is little evidence that the length of a sentence, as opposed to its certainty, has significant deterrent effects. If we cut sentences in half across the board, there is no reason to believe we’d see an appreciable rise in crime, and over time we would most likely see a large drop in the prison population. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement