ALEXANDRIA, VA–The American Civil Rights Union today announced the addition of three distinguished conservative leaders to its Policy Board: former Court of Federal Claims Special Master Richard B. Abell, former Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, and distinguished civil and constitutional attorney Charles J. Cooper.

“We are delighted to welcome Mr. Abell, Mr. Blackwell, and Mr. Cooper to our Policy Board,” said ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson. “These gentlemen bring a wealth of wisdom and experience to the ACRU, and they will be great allies in our work to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

The late Robert B. Carleson founded the ACRU in 1998 to defend genuine constitutional rights of individuals as well as groups such as the Boy Scouts, and to resist liberalism in the judicial and legal arenas. The ACRU has filed amicus briefs in numerous civil rights cases and its legal fellows and policy experts engage in the public debate over freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to bear arms and government accountability. Current Policy Board members include former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights William Bradford Reynolds, social scientist Dr. James Q. Wilson, economist Dr. Walter E. Williams, and Ambassador Curtin Winsor.

Mr. Abell served for 19 years as Special Master on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He is a Vietnam War veteran, retired from the Army after receiving combat wounds. His public service spanned 34 years, including an appointment in the Reagan Administration as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs and service on numerous criminal justice boards and commissions. He chaired the National Crime Prevention Coalition. Mr. Abell has B.A. and J.D. degrees from George Washington University.

Mr. Blackwell served two terms as Ohio Secretary of State. Appointed State Treasurer in 1994, he was the first African-American to hold statewide office in Ohio. He previously served as Mayor of Cincinnati, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has B.S. and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University. Mr. Blackwell is a senior fellow of the ACRU, and his political commentaries appear regularly in print and online publications.

Mr. Cooper is a renowned civil and constitutional lawyer. As chairman of Cooper & Kirk PLLC, he has represented a variety of private and government clients and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The National Law Journal named him among the 10 best civil litigators in Washington. After serving as a clerk to Judge Paul Roney in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist, Mr. Cooper worked in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan Administration. Mr. Cooper has B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Alabama.