Shahid Buttar

Civil rights lawyer / DJ & MC / grassroots organizer / Exec Director of BORDC

Shahid Buttar is a civil rights lawyer, hip-hop & electronica MC, independent columnist, non-profit leader, grassroots community organizer, singer and poet. Professionally, he leads the Bill of Rights Defense Committee as Executive Director. He also serves as co-Director of the Rule of Law Institute, a U.S.-based organization supporting international efforts to defend or restore the rule of law.

As a litigator in the nation's capital, Shahid organized litigation seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of New York in 2004, and also represented the campaign finance reform community in an ultimately successful appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Until 2008, he directed the media and communications operations of the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, as well as the ACS ResearchLink program. From 2008-2009, he directed a national program addressing racial & religious profiling based in San Francisco.

Shahid also served as a spokesperson for grassroots resistance at the 2005 Counter-Inaugural and the 2004 Republican National Convention – where Democracy Now! named one of his public addresses among "The Best of 2004." As an organizer, Shahid has founded numerous grassroots groups across the country, including the Stanford Spoken Word Collective; the San Francisco Collaborative Arts Insurgency; the DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency; and the DC Resistance Media Collective.

Shahid graduated in 2003 from Stanford Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, as well as Professor Lawrence Lessig's 2002-03 Teaching Assistant for Constitutional Law. He worked in the investment banking industry while pursuing his undergraduate degree from 1991 until 2000, when he graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago and was invited to join the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department.

As a musician, Shahid has performed around the world for audiences as large as 50,000. His debut CD, Get Outta Your Chair, was released in 2008 and features music from the funk, blues, hip-hop, house, drum 'n bass, and South Asian fusion traditions, including Bumpin’ in My SUV and the Baghdad Blues.

A comprehensive list of Shahid’s prior publications, as well as his music, is available at