Ahilan Arulanantham and Amanda Goad also take on new roles
LOS ANGELES – Today, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California welcomes Melissa Goodman as its new Director of Advocacy/Legal Director. In this role Goodman leads the affiliate's advocacy department, which comprises 60 attorneys, policy advocates, organizers, and support staff across offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Kern County.
"I am excited to lead a truly incredible team of advocates who toil daily to protect people from the federal rollback of rights while also striving for progressive change in California to make it a model for justice, freedom, and equality." Goodman said. "I am honored to take on this important role for an organization I love at this momentous time in the nation."
Goodman joined the ACLU SoCal as a senior staff attorney in 2012 and most recently held the position of Audrey Irmas Director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project. As a veteran litigator and policy advocate, Goodman defended LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and the rights of people living with HIV.
Goodman also spearheaded the ACLU SoCal's efforts to end discrimination against women directors and hiring inequities in Hollywood. Her work in this area helped spark a federal investigation and, reportedly, federal discrimination charges against studios. In her new role she will continue to be engaged in these endeavors to address equity and safety in Hollywood.
As a litigator, some of Goodman's most salient cases include Garza v. Hargan, a challenge to the federal government's policy obstructing pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minors from accessing abortions; ACLU v. Hargan, a challenge to the Trump administration's rule allowing employers and universities to deny their employees and students insurance coverage for contraception if the employer has a religious or moral objection; and McKibben v. McMahon, a class action case challenging discriminatory treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender people in a San Bernardino County jail.
Prior to joining the ACLU SoCal, Goodman worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she directed the organization's LGBT and reproductive rights work. There, she served as co-counsel in Windsor v. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. She also worked as a staff attorney for six years at the ACLU's National Security Project.
Ahilan Arulanantham: Senior Counsel
Arulanantham is leaving the role of Director of Advocacy/Legal Director to become more directly involved in litigation at this crucial time in the history of the ACLU, where he has already spearheaded numerous actions against the Trump administration. He takes on the new title of Senior Counsel.
Since joining the ACLU SoCal, Arulanantham successfully litigated landmark cases expanding immigrant detainees' access to legal representation and limiting the government's power to detain them indefinitely. Those cases include Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder, the first case to establish a right to appointed legal representation for any group of immigrants facing deportation; and Jennings v. Rodriguez, which he argued in the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
In 2016, Arulanantham received a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship for his efforts to protect immigrants' rights.
Amanda Goad: Audrey Irmas Director of LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project
Goad joined the ACLU SoCal last year. She had previously served as Litigation Director at Inner City Law Center and as a staff attorney in the LGBT & HIV Project of the National ACLU, where she contributed to numerous litigation victories including Henderson v. Thomas, challenging the segregation of prisoners living with HIV in Alabama, and Bassett v. Snyder, defending domestic partner benefits for Michigan public employees.
She is currently litigating on behalf of a transgender man challenging a Catholic hospital's refusal to perform his gender-affirming surgery, and for a transgender woman challenging her exclusion from her gym's women's locker room. Goad's advocacy on behalf of a woman refused access to a women's restroom at a Walgreens in Los Angeles led to the pharmacy chain changing policies for all 8,000 of its stores nationwide.
In 2015, Goad was named one of the 40 Best LGBT Lawyers under the age of 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.