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John W. Whitehead Esq.

Self Description

July 2006: "John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. 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 whose international headquarters are located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly commentary that is posted on The Rutherford Institute’s website (, as well being distributed to several hundred newspapers, and hosting a national public service radio campaign. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties issues has earned him numerous accolades, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom.

Whitehead serves as a member of the Constitution Project, which seeks to formulate bipartisan solutions to contemporary constitutional and legal issues by combining high-level scholarship and public education. He also serves as a member of the advisory board for the Innocence Commission for Virginia, a nonprofit, nongovernmental, nonpartisan project dedicated to supplementing the ongoing work in Virginia through recommendations to strengthen the reliability of its criminal justice system and to reduce the likelihood of future wrongful convictions...

Whitehead gained international renown as a result of his role as co-counsel in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton. Whitehead continues to speak out in defense of a woman's right to be free from sexual harassment and frequently comments on a variety of legal issues in the national media...

The author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, as well as pamphlets and brochures providing legal information to the general public, Whitehead has also written numerous magazine and journal articles. 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...

Born in 1946 in Tennessee, 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..."

Third-Party Descriptions

November 2007: "“I believe the police should be doing their own investigation,” says Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead, whose civil liberties organization has offered to represent Stuart. Virginia, he says, recognizes only two exceptions to First Amendment protections of the press: If the state needs a reporter’s testimony to solve a crime (”That doesn’t seem to be true here as there are other witnesses,” says Whitehead) or if the defendant needs it to prove his innocence."

December 2006: “It’s proselytizing, and the courts have been pretty clear you can’t do that,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, a group that provides legal services in religious freedom cases. “You can’t step across the line and proselytize, and that’s what he’s done here.”


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Member of (past or present) Constitution Project Organization Jul 17, 2006
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Founder/Co-Founder of Rutherford Institute Organization Jul 17, 2006
Member of (past or present) US Army Organization Jul 17, 2006
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UA, UARK) Organization Jul 17, 2006
Opponent (past or present) President William ("Bill") Jefferson Clinton Person Jul 17, 2006
Advisor/Consultant to (past or present) Paula Jones Person Jul 17, 2006

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Nov 19, 2007 Unquashed: Judge upholds subpoena of reporter

QUOTE: the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has subpoenaed a Hook reporter to testify about a public drunkenness case with no confidential sources or heinous crime to be solved, and a judge’s refusal to quash the subpoena has turned a misdemeanor case into a First Amendment challenge.

Dec 18, 2006 Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights

QUOTE: While science teachers, particularly in the Bible Belt, have been known to refuse to teach evolution, the controversy here, 10 miles west of Manhattan, hinges on assertions Mr. Paszkiewicz made in class, including how a specific Muslim girl would go to hell.

New York Times
Jul 06, 2006 Police state: Has common sense taken leave?

QUOTE: America has grown cold and callous and often lacks common sense in its accepted brutal treatment of others who commit small wrongs or merely make mistakes. We see school children placed at the heart of our court system and treated like hardened criminals. Many find negative marks placed on their permanent records due to the harsh treatment of zero-tolerance policies.

Jun 29, 2006 Why no Wiccan? Whose freedoms are we fighting for?

QUOTE: refusing to place the Wiccan symbol on Sgt. Stewart's memorial plaque, while permitting symbols of other religions and non-religions, the government is clearly engaging in viewpoint discrimination-- which is a shoddy way to treat someone who has died in service to his country.