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Udi Ofer

John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor and Lecturer of Public and International Affairs
347 Wallace Hall
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Udi Ofer is the James L. Weinberg Visiting Professor and Lecturer in the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the founding Director of the Policy Advocacy Clinic at Princeton University and teaches courses on civil rights, policing, criminal justice reform, public policy and social change. He is also Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

Ofer has more than 20 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer advocating for social change, racial justice and equality, and leading policy campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. For two decades, Ofer worked as an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he helped transform the organization into an advocacy powerhouse, expanding its work into new issues areas and tactics, including nonpartisan political advocacy. Ofer’s work has led to passage of hundreds of laws and policies across the nation, addressing some of the greatest injustices of our time.

From 2016-2022, Ofer was the Deputy National Political Director of the ACLU and the founding Director of the ACLU’s Justice Division, leading the ACLU’s advocacy on criminal justice reform, including before the White House and Congress. He is best known for building the ACLU's Campaign for Smart Justice, an unprecedented 50-state strategy to end mass incarceration, and launching the ACLU's first-ever campaign to engage in a district attorney race. During his tenure, the ACLU engaged in 45 district attorney races in 15 states, educating and mobilizing tens of millions of voters and helping to transform the role of prosecutor in the United States.

From 2013-2016, Ofer served as Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey. Under his leadership the organization achieved historic victories on a range of issues, including overhauling New Jersey’s broken cash bail system, launching a successful bipartisan campaign to tax and regulate marijuana, winning in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, prohibiting local police from enforcing federal immigration laws, launching a campaign for marriage equality, and creating one of the nation's strongest civilian complaint review boards in Newark.

From 2003-2013, Ofer worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he began as the founding Director of the New York Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, advocating on civil liberties and national security issues, including challenging the USA PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay, torture policies, and the racial profiling of Arab, Muslim and South Asian residents by the NYPD and federal authorities. In 2008, he founded the Advocacy Department, where he challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and spearheaded the successful effort to pass legislation banning racial profiling by the NYPD and creating an NYPD Inspector General’s office. Ofer was also a co-founder of Communities United for Police Reform in New York City.

Ofer began his legal career in 2001 as a Skadden Fellow at My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence organization. He was an adjunct professor at New York Law School from 2009-2012, and has published widely including in the Seton Hall Law Review, Columbia Law School Journal of Race and Law, New York Law School Law Review, and Fordham Urban Law Journal. Ofer’s work and commentary have been featured in hundreds of national and local news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker Radio Hour, NBC News, The Hill, POLITICO and Vox. He has testified before many legislatures, including the United States Senate, and is frequently cited as an expert on civil rights and criminal justice matters.

Ofer is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Graduate Award from Fordham Law School, a presidential award from the Open Society Foundations, and a proclamation from the New York City Council for contributions made by his work to the city and state. He is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo.