Chicago Lawyer Chapter: Progressive Federalism

Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 11:00am - 5:00pm
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 W Adams S Front Lobby & The Governor Richard B. Ogilvie Auditorium
Chicago, IL
The Chicago Lawyer Chapter, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and John Marshall Law School Student Chapters of the American Constitution Society, Black Law Students Association, Labor and Employment Law Society and National Lawyers Guild ITT Chapter presented:


Progressive Federalism

Keynote Address by:
Joel Rogers
Founder, ALICE (American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange); Director, COWS; Professor of of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs and Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

We hoped you joined the Chicago Lawyer Chapter and the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Student Chapter for an all-day event on how progressive federalism can be used to rebuff advances made by the conservative legal movement and establish a more progressive America.  Panelists discussed attacks on public education, civil liberties, voting rights, and the court system itself (in the guise of “tort reform”) and how progressives could harness the legal system to re-establish progressive ideals.

To view a portion of the event, click here

Full Schedule:


11:00-11:30 Coffee and Bagels


11:30-12:15 Keynote Address: Joel Rogers

Joel Rogers is professor of law, political science, public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of COWS, the national strategy center for high road development and governance. He has written widely on American politics and democratic theory (e.g., On Democracy,Right Turn, Associations and Democracy,Metro Futures, Works Councils, Working Capital, What Workers Want, The Forgotten Majority), advised many politicians and governments, and helped found and operate several progressive NGOs (e.g., Center for a New Democracy, New Party, Economic Analysis Research Network, Apollo Alliance, Emerald Cities Collaborative, and, most recently, ALICE). A MacArthur Foundation fellow, Newsweek identifies him as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21stcentury.


12:15-1:00 LUNCH


1:00-2:15 Panel 1: Conservative Federalism


Panelists will discuss what conservatives have done to destroy social programs, criminalize dissent, discourage equal rights for women and the LGBTQ community, deny consumers access to the courts, and prevent workers from organizing.


1. Stacy Davis-Gates,

The Attack on Public Education

Chair of the CTU Political Action Committee


2. David Orlikoff

The Attack on Civil Liberties

Submissions Manager at the International Children's Media Center, a 501c(3) nonprofit. Mr. Orlikoff is a social and economic justice activist and organizer who participated in Occupy Chicago since it's first week in September, 2011. He has organized locally against austerity measures, corporate welfare, fascism, racism, NATO, ALEC, and particularly against the devastation of public education with the Grassroots Education Movement. His primary focus is on identifying and exposing how overlapping systems of dominance and control are manipulated by a tiny minority with a virtual monopoly on financial wealth.  Mr. Orlikoff graduated with honors from Columbia College, Chicago.


3. Ruth Greenwood

The Attack on Voting Rights

Ruth Greenwood is an attorney with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  She has been working in voting rights since 2009, first with the Fair Elections Legal Network, then the Democratic National Committee.  She has co-written reports arguing against the effort to restrict voting rights in 2012 and advocating for policies to reduce the disenfranchising effect of the foreclosure crisis on the 2010 election; she has presented on redistricting, voter registration drives, and election day protection at national conferences, and has assisted with election law litigation in New Hampshire and Ohio.  She received her LL.M from Columbia Law School in 2009, where she focused on constitutional and election law, and her LL.B from the University of Sydney in 2005.  Prior to moving to the United States Ruth worked as a litigator in Sydney, Australia, including work with the Public Interest Law Clearing House and the Refugee Advice and Casework service.


4. Amy Widman

The Attack on the Courts ("Tort Reform")

Amy Widman is an Assistant Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University College of Law.  Before joining the faculty at NIU, she worked as the Legal Director at the Center for Justice & Democracy, a non-partisan consumer advocacy group, where she was responsible for political and legislative campaigns to support the civil justice system.   Her primary research and teaching interests are in tort theory, administrative law, and the legislative process.  Her articles on accountability and access to justice have appeared in the Florida Law Review, the Cardozo Law Review, the Yale Law and Policy Review, the Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law, and many others.  She has also testified before Congress on these issues.  Professor Widman is a cum laude graduate of New York University Law School and holds a B.A. from Northwestern University in Comparative Literary Studies.


5. Richard Muniz

Richard Muniz is the Reproductive Rights Fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. He graduated magna cum laude from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2012.


2:30-2:50 Diversity's Doctrinal Distractions

Vinay Harpalani, J.D., Ph.D.

Professor Harpalani joined the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty in 2012 from Seattle University School of Law, where he was the inaugural academic fellow at the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality.

Professor Harpalani graduated from New York University (NYU) School of Law in 2009, where he served as an articles editor for the New York University Law Review, an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow, and a Derrick A. Bell Jr. Public Service Scholar. Between finishing his Ph.D.  and starting law school, Professor Harpalani was a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Professor Harpalani has also provided numerous scholarship analysis, particularly on race, eduction and constitutional law. One of his new articles, Diversity Within Racial Groups and the Constitutionality of Race Conscious Admissions, will be published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law in November 2012 and was cited in a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief for the case of Fisher v. Texas.  Professor Harpalani has also published in the New York University Law Review, Seattle University Law Review, New York University Annual Survey of American Law, Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy, and he has co-authored articles in the Journal of Social Issues, Educational Researcher, Development and Psychopathology, Black Arts Quarterly, and other scholarly journals. He has also authored and co-authored numerous book chapters and encyclopedia entries on race, education and developmental psychology.


2:55-4:10 Panel 2: Progressive Federalism


Panelists will discuss progressive federalism and various progressive initiatives responding to conservative programs


1. Alvar Ayala

The Passage of the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act


2. Dan Linn


As the Executive Director of Illinois NORML, Mr. Linn has been working as a cannabis activist and lobbyist for over ten years.  He has testified before committees at the Capitol in Springfield, has been published and quoted in numerous newspapers and news broadcasts in Illinois, and is a co-author of the book The Cannabis Papers.  He has publicly debated the former head of the DEA, Peter Bensinger on television, and spoke on a panel at the 2012 American Bar Association’s conference detailing different regulatory and tax models for a legal cannabis market.


3. Nate Ela


Mr. Ela has worked on ALICE since it was founded in late 2011, in addition to various other projects at COWS (the Center on Wisconsin Strategy), where ALICE is based.  He has a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he focused on human rights law.  Following law school, he worked on litigation under the Alien Tort Statute, and with food sovereignty activists in Colombia.  He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and is conducting dissertation research on land policy and urban agriculture in Chicago.


4. Todd L. Belcore

Ending the Prison Industrial Complex

Todd Belcore is a staff attorney with the Community Justice Program at the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law. He was also an Equal Justice Works Fellow (sponsored by Greenberg Traurig) at the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, focusing on litigating, organizing, educating, and crafting legislation to ensure that individuals with criminal records are not unjustly denied employment or occupational licenses. Todd is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as President of the public service organization (SERV) and, later, as the Student Bar Association (SBA) President. In these roles, he was able to significantly increase the amount of exposure law students had to public interest and public service. In recognition of Todd's commitment to service, he was the chosen recipient of the 2009 PSLawNet Pro Bono Publico Award, which honors one law student nationwide for their pro bono contributions to society. In 2010, Todd was also the chosen recipient of Northwestern University School of Law's Wigmore Key, which is given to the one graduating student who has done the most to preserve the traditions of the law school. Finally, Todd was also recently chosen to receive the Kimball and Karen Anderson Public Interest Fellowship award which honors one attorney for their commitment to public interest work, academic achievement in law school, and their outstanding character and integrity.


5. Royal F. Berg

Immigration Legislative Advocacy in Illinois

A graduate of Bradley University, and the John Marshall Law School; Mr. Berg is a sole practitioner, who has practiced immigration law in Chicago since 1984. He is the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, and the Co-Chair of the Litigation Committee of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. (AILA). He served for six years as an elected Director of the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He also served for three years as the Chair of the Liaison between AILA and the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and as a member of AILA’s Liaison Committee with the General Counsel of the (former) Immigration and Naturalization Service. Mr. Berg has also served as the Chair of the Greater Chicago Chapter of AILA, and as Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He is a founding Board Member of Immigrants’ List, a pro-immigrant, pro-immigration political action committee formed in 2006. He is also a Board member of the Farm Workers Advocacy Project and the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death penalty.

Prior to going into private practice, Mr. Berg was the Legal Services Administrator of the Chicago Office of Travelers and Immigrants Aid, (now called the National Immigrant Justice Center.) He has received two President’s Awards for his service nationally to AILA and received the Joseph Minsky Beacon of Light Award from AILA’s Chicago Chapter. He was the first recipient of the Edward Lewis Award from the Chicago Bar Association, honoring him for his pro bono work. He has also been honored for his service to Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Corp. He is a recipient of the Gaudium et Spes Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the Pax et bonum Award from St. Peter’s Church in the Loop. He has also been honored for his fundraising for the March of Dimes, and is a Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation.

Prior to entering law school, Mr. Berg served as Director of Organizing for the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local Union 327, AFL-CIO Illinois. He also served as an elected representative to the Peoria-Tazewell County Trades and Labor Council.

Mr. Berg is a frequent lecturer and author in the field of immigration law. He has been a guest speaker at two national conferences of the United States

Immigration Judges. Mr. Berg has represented immigrants in a number of complex cases litigated before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the United States District Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Berg represented Janina Wasilewski for her immigration case, which was depicted in the award winning documentary “Tony and Janina’s Amercian Wedding-A Deportation Love Story.”