Ayesha N. Khan is the Legal Director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Ms. Khan is an expert on First Amendment issues, including the separation of church and state, the free exercise of religion, and the right of free speech. Under her supervision, Americans United's legal team has litigated dozens of cases, and filed scores of friend-of-the-court briefs, in courts throughout the country. Her cases have challenged the presentation of prayers at public-school events, public funding of faith-based institutions, and religious displays on public property. Ms. Khan was the lead lawyer in a challenge to Chief Justice Roy Moore's erection of a Ten Commandments monument in a judicial building in Montgomery, Alabama. In the course of her work, she has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, almost every federal court of appeals, and dozens of trial courts.
Ms. Khan's work has extended beyond the courtroom into a diverse array of public-policy arenas. She has given advice on pending legislation, counseled public officials on legal requirements, and drafted position papers on legal questions and judicial nominees. She has also made countless media appearances and public presentations, having been a guest on ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC's HardBall with Chris Mathews, Fox TV's O'Reilly Factor, CNN's Prime News and The World Today and NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and The Tavis Smiley Show. And she has been quoted in almost every newspaper with a national circulation, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Int'l Herald Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Chicago Tribune.
Prior to coming to Americans United, Ms. Khan was a litigation associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC, and a staff attorney at the ACLU's National Prison Project. While at the ACLU, she litigated complex, class-action cases designed to improve conditions in prisons and jails throughout the country.
Ms. Khan received her A.B. with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan in 1985. She graduated in 1989 from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, where she placed in the Order of the Coif, received the Women in the Public Interest Scholarship, served on the California Law Review, and was an Articles Editor with the Berkeley Women's Law Journal. She clerked for the Honorable Charles A. Legge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.