About John Whitehead
John Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law, human rights and popular culture.
Widely recognized as one of the nation’s most vocal and involved civil liberties attorneys, Whitehead’s approach to civil liberties issues has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom and the Milner S. Ball Lifetime Achievement Award for “[his] decades of difficult and important work, as well as [his] impeccable integrity in defending civil liberties for all.” As nationally syndicated columnist Nat Hentoff observed about Whitehead: “John Whitehead is not only one of the nation’s most consistent and persistent civil libertarians. He is also a remarkably perceptive illustrator of our popular culture, its insights and dangers. I often believe that John Whitehead is channeling the principles of James Madison, who would be very proud of him.”
Whitehead’s concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Deeply committed to protecting the constitutional freedoms of every American and the integral human rights of all people, The Rutherford Institute has emerged as a prominent leader in the national dialogue on civil liberties and human rights and a formidable champion of the Constitution. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson.
Whitehead has filed numerous amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, has been co-counsel in several landmark Supreme Court cases and continues to champion the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights in and out of the courts. His law review articles have been published in Emory Law Journal, Pepperdine Law Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Washington and Lee Law Review, Cumberland Law Review, Tulsa Law Journal and the Temple University Civil Rights Law Review.Whitehead is also a member of various groups that seek nonpartisan consensus solutions to difficult legal and constitutional issues through scholarship, activism and public education efforts.
John Whitehead is a frequent commentator on a variety of legal and cultural issues in the national media and writes a weekly opinion column, which is distributed nationwide. He has authored more than 30 books on various legal and social issues. His most recent books include the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People and the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. In addition, he wrote and directed the documentary video series Grasping for the Wind, as well as its companion book, which focus on key cultural events of the 20th Century. The series received two Silver World Medals at the New York Film and Video Festival.
Born in 1946, John W. Whitehead earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas in 1969 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1974. He served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.
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Read John W. Whitehead's 1973 interview with Bill Clinton (PDF)