|Alma mater||Cornell University
Harvard Law School
|Occupation||lawyer and writer|
|Organization||Free Expression Policy Project|
|Awards||Eli M. Oboler Award
First Amendment Hero
Luther McNair Award
Heins received a B.A., with distinction, from Cornell University in 1967. She received her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School in 1978. She was admitted to the bar of Massachusetts in 1978 and New York in 1993.
American Civil Liberties Union
In the 1980s as staff counsel at the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Heins litigated numerous civil rights matters, including LGBT rights and free speech. One matter involved a litigation against Boston University for the discharge of the Dean of Students on the basis of her complaints about discrimination on the part of the university. This story is told in Cutting the Mustard (1988). Heins also investigated the Boston Police Department's treatment of the notorious Carol Stuart murder case, in which a white man murdered his wife but claimed to be a victim of a carjacking by an African American man.
She founded and directed the Arts Censorship Project at the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991-1998, during the years in which arts censorship were a particularly controversial and active field. During that time, she worked on a number of high-profile arts censorship matters. Heins was co-counsel on the ACLU's Reno v. ACLU brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately led to striking the Communications Decency Act as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. Heins was also co-counsel on Karen Finley's landmark lawsuit against the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley.
Heins has taught at Boston College Law School, Florida State University Law School, the University of California-San Diego (UCSD), New York University (NYU), Tufts University, and the American University of Paris.
At UCSD, she created courses in "Censorship, Culture and American Law" and "Political Repression and the Press: Red Scares in U.S. History and Law." At NYU, she taught "Censorship and American Culture." At the American University of Paris, she taught "Free Expression and the Media: Policy and Law."
She was a fellow at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, 2004-2007. In 2011, she was a fellow at NYU's Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center while researching her book, Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge.
She is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication of NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Heins' litigation includes:
- Urofsky v. Gilmore, 216 F.3d 401 (4th Cir. 2000) (argued for professors challenging constitutionality of Virginia law restricting access to sexually explicit material on work computers)
- National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, 524 U.S. 569 (1998) (ACLU co-counsel for artists challenging NEA funding criteria as impermissibly viewpoint-based and vague)
- Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844 (1997) (ACLU co-counsel for coalition challenging Communications Decency Act, which restricted "indecent speech" on the Internet)
- Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge (New York: NYU Press, 2013) (ISBN 9780814790519)
- Not in Front of the Children: 'Indecency', Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth (2001; 2007) (ISBN 0-8090-7399-4)
- Sex, Sin and Blasphemy: A Guide to America's Censorship Wars (1993; rev. 1998) (ISBN 1-56584-048-8)
- Cutting the Mustard: Affirmative Action and the Nature of Excellence (1988) (ISBN 0-571-12974-9)
- Strictly Ghetto Property: The Story of Los Siete de la Raza (1972) (ISBN 0-87867-010-6)
Awards and honors
- 1991 - Luther McNair Award (Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts) for significant contributions to civil liberties
- 1992 - "First Amendment Hero" (Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression)
- 1993 - "First Amendment Hero" (Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression)
- 2002 - Eli M. Oboler Award (American Library Association) for best published work in intellectual freedom for Not in Front of the Children (2002)
- 2013 - Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award, for Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge
- Nov. 21, 2013 - 23rd Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom
- See Library of Congress Authorities, Name Authority Record Number n86057943 (permalink).
- Beth Saulnier, "The Talking Cure", Cornell Alumni Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2013.
- "Marjorie Heins Bio". Free Expression Policy Project. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Applegate, Edd. Literary Journalism: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors (Greenwood, 1996), p. 160.
- Biography, Strictly Ghetto Property ("She worked with the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, and wrote for a series of underground newspapers: the Rat in New York, the Express Times and Dock of the Bay in San Francisco, the Berkeley Tribe. She reported on Los Siete de la Raza for Hard Times and Ramparts magazine.") See, e.g., Letter from Marjorie Heins for the Mobilization, Sept. 14, 1967.
- Barbara Lightner, "Interview with Marjorie Heins", IOBA Standard, v.3, no. 3 (Aug. 2002).
- Heins, Cutting the Mustard.
- Business Wire (May 15, 2013). "Winners Announced for 2013 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company, Inc). Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "HLS Arts Panel Explores the NEA and Censorship". Harvard Law School. April 16, 2002. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "NEA Decency Standards" (discussion between Marjorie Heins and Colby May), C-Span, March 31, 1998.
- "Marjorie Heins". New York University. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Adjunct Faculty". New York University. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Civil Liberties Lawyer and Author Marjorie Heins", Feb. 13, 2013
- Past Recipients, American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Round Table (last visited March 6, 2014).
- The Twenty-Third Annual University of Michigan Senate's Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, Oct. 23, 2013, Honigman Auditorium, University of Michigan Law School.
- Jared Wadley, "Civil Liberties Lawyer Marjorie Heins to Deliver Academic Freedom Lecture", University of Michigan Record, Oct. 14, 2013.