Natasha Merle joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) in January of 2016. She uses litigation, legislative, policy, and public education strategies to promote racial justice primarily in the areas of criminal justice, political participation and educational opportunities.
Natasha is lead counsel in LDF et al. v. Trump et al., an ongoing lawsuit brought pursuant to the Constitution and Federal Advisory Committee Act that challenges President Trump’s creation of the racially discriminatory “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.” Natasha is a member of the litigation team in Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill, a challenge to Alabama’s discriminatory voter photo ID law. In 2016, Natasha led LDF’s Prepared to Vote campaign, a non-partisan election preparedness campaign.
Natasha is also a member of the Buck v. Davis team, which successfully represented Mr. Duane Buck in the United States Supreme Court. She co-authored the briefs that resulted in the reversal of Mr. Buck’s death sentence. The Court found that Mr. Buck’s death sentence was poisoned by the “toxin” of unconstitutional racial bias, which had been introduced at his capital sentencing hearing.
Prior to joining LDF, Natasha completed two years at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP as an LDF/Fried Frank Fellow, working on complex commercial and civil rights litigation. She previously clerked for the Honorable John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the Honorable Robert L. Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Natasha has also worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona, where she represented death-sentenced individuals in their federal habeas proceedings and before the Arizona Clemency Board. Natasha was also an Equal Justice Works Fellow/Staff Attorney at the Gulf Region Advocacy Center, where she represented individuals who were facing re-sentencing on capital murder convictions.
Natasha graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law and with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Government and Spanish. She is a member of both the New York and Texas State Bars.