Daniel P. Sheehan is a Harvard College, Harvard Law School and Harvard Divinity School-trained Constitutional Trial Lawyer and Appellate Attorney. Over the last five decades his work as an trial lawyer, appellate attorney, public speaker, author and college and law school educator, Daniel Sheehan has helped to expose injustice, protect fundamental rights and elucidate a compelling vision for the future of humanity. His dedication and passion have put him at the center of many of the most important legal cases and social movements of our lifetimes.
Daniel Sheehan received his B.A. in American Government Studies and American Foreign Policy, with Honors, from Harvard College in 1967. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree three years later, in 1970, from the Harvard Law School. After graduating from Harvard Law School, where he co-founded and served as the Co-Editor of The Harvard Civil Rights Law Review – from which position he initiated and litigated both the case that established, before The United States Supreme Court, the right of unmarried persons to access to birth control information and devises and the case that established, again as the result of a United States Supreme Court case, the right of American journalists to protect the identity of their confidential news sources from compulsory disclosure to state or federal grand juries. Dan was then retained as a Trial Attorney for America’s #1 Litigation Law Firm on Wall Street, the firm of Cahill, Gordon, Sonnett, Reindel & Ohl where he carried those two cases, and other important First Amendment cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably New York Times v. U.S. (the Pentagon Papers Case). As Chief Trial Counsel for the National Office of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, Colorado, Dan served as Chief Trial Counsel on numerous cases on behalf of Native American rights including as Amicus Counsel in The Wounded Knee Occupation and its following trials…thereinafter being made Legal Counsel for the Native American Rights Committee of ACLU National. Dan also served as Special Counsel to the law firm of famed criminal defense attorney F. Lee Bailey during that firm’s representation of Watergate Burglary wiretapping specialist James McCord – the man who “blew the whistle” on Richard Nixon and his infamous “Plumbers Unit” that led directly to the resignation of Richard Nixon as President.
After the completion of The Wounded Knee Case and The Watergate Burglary Case, Dan returned to Harvard University where he pursued his Masters Degree and then his Ph.D in the field of Christian Social Ethics and Comparative Ethics.
Dan then became a Candidate for the Jesuit Priesthood and served as General Counsel to the United States Jesuit Headquarters in Washington, D.C. for ten years, where he also served as the Co-Director of the American Jesuit Order’s National Office of Social Ministry. There he partnered with Father William J. Davis,a member of the famous “Berrigan Brothers Gang” of Jesuit Priest Daniel Berrigan and his brother Phillip, a Josephite Catholic Priest and then partnered with National Organization of Women (N.O.W.) National Labor Secretary Sara Nelson, the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union and the Environmental Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. to launch and successfully prosecute the Karen Silkwood case (Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee) – which stopped the construction of all new private nuclear power plants in the United States between 1979 and the present. Dan and Father Davis and Sara Nelson then went on to co-found The Christic Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public interest law firm and public policy center in Wasgington, D.C. that, over the next 12-year period, investigated and successfully civilly prosecute many of the most celebrated public interest cases of our generation. In 1984, in the midst of successfully defending the first members of The American Sanctuary Movement to be publicly prosecuted by the Reagan/Bush Administration for aiding political refugees escaping Central American Death Squads funded by that Administration, Dan and his Christic Institute colleagues uncovered and investigated the infamous “Off-The-Shelf, Stand Alone, Self-Financing ‘Private’ Covert Operations ENTERPRISE” OF Lt. Colonel Oliver North and The Reagan/Bush Administration and then triggered The Iran-Contra Scandal with their filing of the Federal Criminal Racketeering Act civil lawsuit against 29 of the “retired” former C.I.A. and U.S. Pentagon covert operations specialists who were the founders and leaders of that “ENTERPRISE.” While that suit failed to secure a final civil judgment, it succeeded in uncovering – and publicly-exposing – the long-time pattern of criminal activity conducted by those individuals inside the US intelligence community.
In 1992, after the defeat of George H.W. Bush and his cadre of National Security State and Project for a New American Century advocates such as Richard Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, David Addington and Scooter Libby in the 1992 Election, George Bush, Sr. ordered the revocation, by the Internal Revenue Service, of Daniel’s, Sara’s and Father Davis’ CHRISTIC INSTITUTE, so they moved to California and continued their work as The Romero Institute (“If I am killed, I will arise again in the voice of the people.”
Dan’s Harvard training, both as an American Public Policy Scholar & Comparative Social Ethicist and a Constitutional Scholar and Litigation and Appellate Attorney, uniquely qualified Dan to teach Constitutional Law at the Law School level and American Public Policy & History at the college level, which Dan did at the University of California, in both Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, in conjunction with his service as President and Chief Trial Counsel for The Romero Institute.
This training also qualified Dan to serve as General Counsel to The UFO Disclosure Project and to the Institute for Cooperation in Space…and to serve as the attorney for Dr. John Mack, the Chair of the Department of Clinical Psychology at Harvard Medical School, in an important academic freedom case before the Harvard Faculty Committee following the publication of his controversial bookAbduction: Human Encounters with Aliens in 1994.
Dan’s work in California has focused largely on identifying and cultivating cooperative models for change. He served as Director of the New Paradigm Project at Mikhail Gorbachev’s State of the World Forum and is currently engaged in establishing The New Paradigm Academy for young leadership training and a global policy think-tank to be named The Global Cooperative Forum at The Academy. For the past five years, Dan has also headed the Lakota People’s Law Office in Rapid City, South Dakota two weeks out of every month, working with tribal leaders in South Dakota to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and to transfer all federal funding for Indian Family Services in the State of South dakota from the state to the tribes.
Daniel Sheehan currently lives in Santa Cruz, California with Sara and their two sons, Danny-Paul and Daegan and teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Dan is the author of THE PEOPLE’S ADVOCATE for COUNTERPOINT PRESS of Berkeley,
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