Diann Rust-Tierney is an Adjunct Professor of Law and teaches a seminar on Human Rights Advocacy: Lessons Learned from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Professor Rust-Tierney served as the Robert F. Drinan S.J. Visiting Professor for Human Rights for the academic year 2021-2022.

Rust-Tierney has more than 30 years of experience in federal legislative and executive branch advocacy on civil and human rights and spent the last 16 years as Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. While at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Professor Rust-Tierney developed, implemented, and coordinated national policy and legal strategy to end the US death penalty.

Professor Rust-Tierney held several roles at the American Civil Liberties Union including Legislative Counsel, Chief Legislative Counsel/Associate Director of the Washington Office, and the Director of the Capital Punishment Project. While at the American Civil Liberties Union, Professor Rust-Tierney developed and implemented legislative strategy on civil rights and civil liberties issues pending before Congress, supervised a staff of Senior Legislative Counsel and Legislative Advocates and led the development of an integrated policy, communications, and field program. Professor Rust-Tierney served as a staff attorney at the National Women’s Law Center where she engaged in policy advocacy and federal litigation with a focus on Title IX and increasing educational equity for women and nondiscrimination in employment.

Professor Rust-Tierney’s Drinan Chair Lecture on Human Rights focused on the relationship between capital punishment and the legacy of the American racial caste system. Professor Rust-Tierney has testified before Congress and spoken extensively on the death penalty, race, women’s rights, policy advocacy and human and civil rights campaigns.

Professor Rust-Tierney earned her JD from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and her BA from the College of Wooster.