Headshot of Michael Kebede


Policy Counsel


Policy Department

Michael joined the ACLU of Maine as a policy counsel in 2019. He volunteered for the ACLU of Maine in 2018 on Portland’s non-citizen voter initiative. That effort introduced him to the staff at the ACLU of Maine and convinced him that his passion could be his profession.

In his role at the ACLU of Maine, Michael has worked on hundreds of bills in the Maine State Legislature. He works to pass many bills that would improve the civil rights and liberties of Maine’s people, improves others, and kills even more.

In 2021, Michael authored and helped negotiate the strongest ban on law enforcement uses of facial surveillance in the nation. He has also led the ACLU of Maine's work on criminal records sealing; youth justice; indigenous sovereignty; removing police from schools; and curbing the police state by, among other things, eliminating Maine's Fusion Center or limiting its scope and increasing accountability. Michael has also contributed to the ACLU of Maine’s long-term effort to shrink the criminal code, reduce criminal legal responses to homelessness and behavioral and mental health disorders, expand abortion access, decriminalize drugs, abolish no-knock warrants, protect immigrants' rights, strengthen and protect the right to vote, and strengthen our mental and behavioral health continuum of care.

Before joining the ACLU of Maine, Michael was a consumer rights advocate at Maine Equal Justice, a non-profit civil legal services organization in Augusta. There, he lobbied to advance the rights of low-income people in lending, utilities, and housing law. Earlier, Michael was an Associate at Verrill Dana, a full-service law firm in Portland. At Verrill Dana, Michael represented clients in patent disputes, complex commercial matters, and personal injury cases.

Michael earned his law degree from Boston College Law School and was awarded the Alumni Association Award at graduation. Following law school, Michael served as law clerk to Chief Justice Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 2013 to 2014. Michael earned his master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Socio-Legal Research, and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Anthropology and Social Thought and Political Economy.

In his free time, Michael enjoys playing banjo, running, rock climbing, polar-dipping, hiking, and camping. 


Michael Kebede (2022) Beyond Exception and Supremacy: Adwa in the Black Radical Imaginary, Ethiopian Journal of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Vol. 17 No. 1 (2021): Special Issue, DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1314/ejossah.v17i1.3

Book Review, Michael Kebede (2021) Ethiopia in theory: revolution and knowledge production, 1964–2016, Review of African Political Economy, 48:169, 485-487, DOI: 10.1080/03056244.2021.1905363

Book Review, Michael Kebede (2016) The sociology of shari'a: case studies from around the world, edited by Adam Possamai, James T. Richardson and Bryan S. Turner, The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 48:1, 156-158, DOI: 10.1080/07329113.2015.1092062

Michael Kebede, A ‘yes’ on Portland’s Questions 2 and 3 is ‘yes’ to democracy, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, October 2022, available here.

Michael Kebede, Black Lives Matter is the Latest Flower of the Black Radical Tradition, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, June 2020, available here.

Commentary: Ethiopia’s 1999 Federal Courts of Sharia Consolidation Proclamation: The Function of the Sharīʿa Courts, Islamic Law Blog, PROGRAM IN ISLAMIC LAW AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, Aug 29, 2019, available here.

Perils of Abiymania, GOBENA STR., June 2018, available here.