Robert A. Destro is the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. He previously served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1983 to 1989 and as a professor of law at The Catholic University of America.
Destro earned a B.A. from Miami University in Ohio, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Destro was a professor of law and director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law. He taught at Catholic University since 1982 and served as an Interim Dean from 1999 to 2001. He also founded the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion at Catholic University.
Destro is a human rights advocate and a civil rights attorney with expertise in elections and employment law. His legal work includes collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo in a fifteen-year dialogue among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish legal, business, and religious leaders in the United States and the Middle East and efforts promoting the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the Middle East.
As a U.S. civil rights commissioner from 1983 to 1989, Destro focused on disability-, national origin-, and religious-based discrimination. From 1977 to 1982, he also served as General Counsel to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. He was also special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Secretary of State on election law matters from 2004 to 2006.