Tanya M. Acker

Attorney and commentator

Tanya Acker is a practicing attorney and political, social and legal commentator. Her appearances include CBS’ The Early Show; ABC’s Good Morning America; CNN’s Larry King Live, CNN Reports and Anderson Cooper 360; HLN’s Prime News and Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell; Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor and Your World With Neil Cavuto; CNBC’s CNBC Reports, OraTv's Larry King Now and numerous appearances on Sky News and GMTV in Great Britain. She has guest co-hosted CNBC’s Power Lunch, been featured as a guest instructor on social responsibility on VH1’s Charm School and discussed political scandals on the E! Channel. Tanya also was cast in a CBS primetime television pilot, created and produced by the creators of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, in which she worked with individuals in challenging situations and helped them resolve their crises. Tanya has contributed both to CNN’s and the Huffington Post, and has been featured in a C Magazine profile on noteworthy California women in politics.

Tanya graduated from Yale Law School; while at Yale, she represented indigent women in family law cases and served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses in the law school. Tanya worked at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice, and the private law firms Irell & Manella, O’Melveny & Myers, and Williams & Connolly. There, she assisted President Clinton’s personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation, and researched First Amendment issues.

After graduating law school, Tanya served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her duties during that appointment included advising and making recommendations to Judge Nelson and other Ninth Circuit judges about rulings on a broad variety of cases, and preparing Judge Nelson for oral arguments on matters before the Court.

Tanya was awarded a Bristow Fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General at the United States Department of Justice, where drafted briefs on behalf of the Government before the United States Supreme Court. Tanya also assisted the Solicitor General in his preparation for various oral arguments before the High Court, including the Clinton v. Jones case, where she participated in preparations with both the Solicitor General and President Clinton’s personal attorneys.

Tanya also has worked in the private sector, including at the law firms of Latham & Watkins and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Her work spanned a broad variety of cases, including state Supreme Court matters, corporate litigation involving public and private entities, and various constitutional cases. Tanya received the ACLU’s First Amendment Award for her successful representation of the homeless in a case against the City of Santa Barbara. Tanya later joined the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign in California, where she worked in entertainment industry outreach. After that, she was appointed Deputy Campaign Manager for the Los Angeles mayoral campaign of City Councilman Bernard C. Parks.

Tanya has been a featured speaker at conferences hosted by the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School, has moderated political forums hosted by Common Cause, and was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter of the English Speaking Union, where she gave a historical perspective on American international engagement.

Tanya received her B.A. degree from Howard University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University, and served there as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women’s Magazine. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.

Tanya sits on the boards of EmeraChem LLC, a Tennessee manufacturer dedicated to the development of emissions reduction products, and Hunt Investors LLC. She also serves on the boards of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest provider of free legal services, the Western Justice Center, which promotes alternative dispute resolution, and Special Spaces, which builds dream bedrooms for children battling life-threatening illnesses.