Christine P. Sun
Christine P. Sun is the Associate Director, and Legal and Policy Director for the ACLU of Northern California, where her primary responsibility is leading the ACLU-NC’s legal and policy department. She also leads the ACLU-NC’s legal and public policy advocacy on economic justice, including litigating Rubicon Programs v. Solano County, the first-of-its-kind lawsuit challenging driver’s license suspension policies that penalize poverty.
Her previous position was Senior Staff Attorney at the national ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project (IRP). While at IRP, her cases included ADAC v. Brewer, a class-action lawsuit challenging Arizona’s denial of drivers’ licenses to DREAMers, and Valle del Sol v. Whiting, the historic constitutional challenge to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 (the “show me your papers” law).
Earlier Christine was Deputy Legal Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama, where she directed SPLC's economic justice work and work on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Her cases included Ferguson v. JONAH, the first case challenging the anti-LGBT practice of “reparative therapy”; Doe v. Anoka-Hennepin School District, the first case challenging a school district’s sexual orientation “neutrality” policy; Cooper-Harris v. U.S., a case that sought and won equal benefits for disabled veterans in same-sex marriages; and M.C. v. Aronson, a groundbreaking case challenging state officials’ decision to perform sex re-assignment surgery on an intersex child. Christine also supervised an investigation and publication of a report concerning abusive payday and title pawn lending practices in Alabama.
She also previously served as senior counsel for the national ACLU's LGBT and AIDS Project, where she led the ACLU’s work on behalf of LGBT people in the Deep South. In this capacity, she led the team that prevailed in Cole v. Arkansas, striking down Arkansas’ foster and adoption ban for same-sex and unmarried couples. She also was lead counsel for Constance McMillen, the teen who made national news when her Mississippi high school cancelled prom after she asked to attend with her girlfriend. During her time with the ACLU’s LGBT Project, she litigated numerous cases on behalf of LGBT youth, including Nguon v. Wolf, which established the privacy right of LGBT students not to be outed by school officials to their parents, and Gillman v. Holmes County School District, which concluded in a trial victory for students who were censored by school officials from speaking about LGBT issues.
Christine graduated with honors in 1998 from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor of the NYU Law Review. After graduation, Christine served as a law clerk for civil rights legend Judge Robert L. Carter on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked in private practice for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco.
Christine currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Asian Law Caucus and the American Constitution Society (Bay Area chapter), and on the Grant Advisory Committee for the Impact Fund. She is a 21st Century Fellow of the Pipeline Project, and has served as a Social Justice Practitioner-in-Residence for the Thelton Henderson Center at Berkeley Law School. She was recognized in 2010 by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the "Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40." In 2012, Christine received a Distinguished Alumna award from NYU Law School's alumni association for minority lawyers, and in 2014, she was named “Alumna of the Year” by the Law School’s LGBT alumni association.
Christine’s cases and advocacy span a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues. Christine has appeared on or been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, People magazine, and CBS’s The Early Show, Anderson Cooper 360, MTV News, Fox News, and MSNBC. She has spoken internationally on civil rights issues, including at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Mississippi Law School, and in the Philippines through a program facilitated by the U.S. Department of State.