Romero was born in New York City on July 9, 1965 to Puerto Rican parents Demetrio and Coralie Romero. He was raised in the Bronx.
Romero was the first member of his family to graduate high school. He graduated from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1987 and received a graduate degree from Stanford University Law School. He was a Dinkelspiel Scholar at Stanford University, a Cane Scholar at Princeton, and a National Hispanic Scholar at both institutions.
American Civil Liberties Union
Anthony Romero became executive director in September 2001, a week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. He is the first openly gay man and the first Hispanic director of the civil liberties institution. In his time as the executive director he has nearly doubled the organizations budget and increased its staff by a similar amount. 
In his capacity as ACLU head, he has been involved in opposition to several policies taken under the rubric of the Bush administration's 'War on Terror'. Referring to the August 17, 2006 federal court declaration that the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" was unconstitutional, Romero called the court's opinion "another nail in the coffin in the Bush administration's legal strategy in the war on terror." 
- In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror. William Morrow, 2007. ISBN 0061142565.
In 2005, he was named one of TIME Magazine's 25 Most Influential Hispanics. Additionally, TIME has named him "The Champion of Civil Rights."