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What's a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing in the Aclu? Paperback – June 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573921432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573921435
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,527,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


I am currently a Professor of Law and Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, where I am a member of IUPUI's Philanthropic Studies faculty, a Faculty Fellow with both the Center for Religion and American Culture and the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence, and an adjunct professor of political science. (All of which sounds more impressive than it is.)

I hold a B.S. from Indiana University, and earned my J.D. from I.U. in 1975. My (checkered!) career includes the practice of real estate, administrative and business law in Indianapolis, my home town, a stint as Corporation Counsel for the City of Indianapolis (from 1977-1980) and, in 1980, a run for Congress as a Republican. I lost.

I was president of Kennedy Development Services, a real-estate development firm, from 1987-1992, when I became Executive Director of the Indiana ACLU. I joined the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental affairs in 1998.

I've written six books, all of which are available through Amazon: What's a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing at the ACLU?(Prometheus Books); Free Expression in America: A Documentary History (Greenwood Publishing); Pickin' Fights With Thunderstorms: A Love Story (Kern) ; Charitable Choice at Work: Faith-Based Jobs Programs in the States (with Wolfgang Bielefield)(Georgetown University Press), God and Country: America in Red and Blue (Baylor University Press); and Distrust, American Style: Diversity and the Crisis of Public Confidence (Prometheus Books). I also was co-editor of To Market, To Market: Reinventing Indianapolis, an analysis of Indianapolis' privatization experience under former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith (University Press of America).

In addition to these books and my articles in scholarly journals and law reviews, etc., for the past twelve years I have written a regular column for the Indianapolis Star and been a frequent contributor to other blogs and periodicals.

My husband Bob is an architect, and we have five children and four (gorgeous, brilliant, exceptional) grandchildren.


Customer Reviews

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
Sheila Kennedy paints a convincing picture, reconciling civil libertarianism with the Republican Party of the Goldwater era. She argues that the traditional Republican values of "hands off" government closely match the ACLU's protection of the Bill of Rights from the powers of popular government.

Apart from Kennedy's main thesis, the book is a good primer for the issues facing the ACLU and the dangers of supporting the majority rule over minority rights. She explains the ACLU's position on free speech, privacy rights, separation of church and state, sexual and reproductive freedom, and support of public schools. Most importantly, she reminds us that the road to tyranny and oppression is paved with good intentions.

Kennedy holds that one of the main problems with current politics is the loss of civility; where cruel sound bytes have replaced meaningful debate and dialogue. She advocates tolerance for other people's beliefs and expresses hope that the traditional Republican Party will return from the control of the "Religious Right". All in all, a good introduction to civil liberties, the ACLU, and a good insight into what the Republican Party used to stand for.

--William L. Gembala
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on January 21, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book informs the reader of some of the activity of the ACLU, and the personal philosophy of the author. I have been a long time supporter of the ACLU, and was interested in learning Ms Kennedy's viewpoint. There are many of us, I assume, who think that the ACLU is an organization that leans a bit to the left. No, says, SSK. True Republicans believe that the less government the better. Such a philosophy means keeping government out of our lives, and enhances our civil liberties. Ms. Kennedy worries (as I do) about the conservative elements of the Republican Party who seem to want less government for themselves, but more for other people, as witnessed by demands for laws pertaining to abortion, school prayer and flag burning. She decries right wing efforts to legislate morality, which reminds me of G.K. Chesterton's statement that morality is how we think other people should act.
It is a shame that Ms Kennedy does not spend more time discussing her experiences in the ACLU, but those events that she does relate show how there is no shortage of politicians and bureaucrats who are willing to restrict the rights of the citizen. While sworn to uphold the US Constitution, elected officials often quickly cater to special interest groups who want their agendas advanced even though they violate the bill of rights.
I'm a fairly liberal Democrat, and found myself agreeing with everything Ms. Kennedy said. Is one of us in the wrong political party?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
Wow! What a page-turner! If you're a political junkie like myself, this book will both entertain and inspire you. Eloquently and forcefully, the author defends the Constitution against those who would nullify our civil liberties in the name of "family values" or "Christian morality". Using warmth, humor, and impeccable logic, Sheila Kennedy has crafted a libertarian manifesto that is a must-read for anyone who cares about where this country is headed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith Mccullough on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good stuff. Helps that I agree with the basic politics, but it was educational (for example, I didn't know that the ACLU would fight for a student's right to pray in school; that they just fight against school authorities encouraging prayer).
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is not often that a book comes along that a reader has personal knowledge about. In this case Ms. Kennedy has written a book of interesting self interest and little depth. Their is allot of outrage expressed but very little factual data to support the outrage. I agree with Ms. Kennedy on most of the issues but I only wish that she had documented her charges more completly. A missed opportunity. More smoke than fire. Guilty but not proven. Too bad.
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