The ACLU Foundation of Southern California Tuesday named Melissa Goodman as its advocacy/legal director.
Goodman will lead the affiliate’s advocacy department, which consists of 60 attorneys, policy advocates, organizers and support staff across offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire and Kern County.
“I am excited to lead a truly incredible team of advocates who toil daily to protect people from the federal rollback of rights while also striving for progressive change in California to make it a model for justice, freedom and equality,” Goodman said. “I am honored to take on this important role for an organization I love at this momentous time in the nation.”
Goodman joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Souther California as a senior staff attorney in 2012 and most recently held the position of Audrey Irmas Director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project. As a veteran litigator and policy advocate, Goodman defended LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and the rights of people living with HIV.
Goodman also spearheaded the ACLU SoCal’s efforts to end discrimination against women directors and hiring inequities in Hollywood. In her new role, she will continue to be engaged in those endeavors.
As a litigator, some of Goodman’s most notable cases include Garza v. Hargan, a challenge to the federal government’s policy obstructing pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minors from accessing abortions; ACLU v. Hargan, a challenge to the Trump administration’s rule allowing employers and universities to deny their employees and students insurance coverage for contraception if the employer has a religious or moral objection; and McKibben v. McMahon, a class-action case challenging discriminatory treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender people in a San Bernardino County jail.
Prior to joining the ACLU SoCal, Goodman worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she directed the organization’s LGBT and reproductive rights work. There, she served as co-counsel in Windsor v. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. She also worked as a staff attorney for six years at the ACLU’s National Security Project.