University of Utah-trained attorney Jensie L. Anderson has become the staff attorney for the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Utah ACLU Director Carole Gnade said Anderson, who graduated from law school in May 1993, was picked from about 20 applicants. She replaces Kathryn D. Kendell, who left Nov. 1 to head the legal department of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.Anderson interned with Utah Legal Services before joining the Salt Lake law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen.

"Sometimes people don't understand the ACLU," said Anderson, a Logan native now living in Salt Lake City. "We don't always represent the most savory characters in the world.

"But in order to protect the majority, you often have to run around doing things for an unpopular minority," she said.

Before going to law school, Anderson earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Utah in theater performance. She completed an acting apprenticeship at the Alley Theatre in Houston and performed at Actor's Theatre of Louisville.

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Gnade praised Anderson for her strength of character and devotion to individual liberties. The qualities will be needed, said Gnade, especially in light of proposals coming from the Republican-dominated Congress.

"We looked a long time to find a candidate with both the skill and energy to not only effectively manage our growing legal program, but to confront the mean-spirited wave of assaults on the Bill of Rights," Gnade said. "We both look at this new team with great enthusiasm."

The Utah ACLU currently is a party to some 14 pending lawsuits, including a challenge to housing policies at Brigham Young University and a federal appeal of Utah's restrictive 1991 abortion law.

With about 2,500 supporting members, the two-person Utah ACLU office is aided by 150 cooperating attorneys who volunteer on particular cases. Anderson will be responsible for coordinating their efforts, in addition to handling legislative matters and lawsuits of her own.

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