Born in Flushing (Queens), New York City, N.Y. Attended the University at Buffalo (SUNY) as an undergraduate and Boston University School of Law, graduated in 1977. First work after law school was in legal services. Began working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky in 1983 as a volunteer cooperating attorney. A year later (1984), Friedman became the group’s general counsel and served in that position for 25 years often taking the lead on cases that dealt with reproductive freedom, separation of church and state, freedom of speech and other civil liberties issues. In 2005, he successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the ACLU of Kentucky that the display of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse violated constitutional principles.
This is the second interview with David Friedman for this organizational history project. The previous interview was conducted by Mary Pace on March 10, 2011. That interview and its index are on deposit at the Oral History Center of the University of Louisville. In this second interview, Friedman revisits some of the same themes from his first interview: great pride in the ACLU’s mission, a genuine and personal passion for the legal work, the importance of educating the public on civil liberties and how media relations played a role in that work. Friedman discusses how Kentucky’s politics and culture have placed it on frontline of efforts to protect reproductive freedom and the separation of church and state.