Sen. Edward Kennedy

  • February 4, 2010
    Check out the revamped online version of Harvard Law & Policy Review (HLPR), the official journal of ACS. The new Web site includes journal articles and frequently updated content, including commentary on legal and policy issues, book reviews and a forum for student writing. The recent issue of HLPR explores solutions to the nation's soaring incarceration rates and includes articles by Sharon Dolovich, Judge Nancy Gertner, and Nkechi Taifa and Catherine Beane.

    Archived journal articles, many influential, are also available online, including a 2008 article by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy called "Restoring the Civil rights Division." That article was cited in a recent speech before ACS by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez. Another journal article, by Cornell University scholars Kevin Clermont and Stewart Schwab, featuring information showing that employment discrimination lawsuits face uphill struggles in the federal courts, was highlighted by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy in a committee hearing. A recently featured article on the HLPR Web site, by Columbia Law School professor Jamal Greene studies "originalism" in context of the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the 5-4 majority led by Justice Antonin Scalia found that the Constitution does protect an individual right to posses firearms. 

  • December 3, 2009

    Congress is poised to release a report on the sharp drop in civil rights enforcement during George W. Bush's presidency. The 180-page General Accountability Office report is being made public today as the House of Representatives kicks off its first oversight hearings on the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama.

    "Despite, or perhaps because of, its importance and effectiveness, the Division has always been controversial," Sen. Edward Kennedy wrote last year in the Harvard Law and Policy Review, the official journal of ACS. "Under the Bush Administration, however, the vital cooperation between political appointees and career civil servants in the Division has broken down, with troubling consequences."

    Sen. Kennedy's insights were prescient.

    "When the Bush administration ran the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, career lawyers wanted to look into accusations that officials in one state had illegally intimidated blacks during a voter-fraud investigation," reports The Times' Charlie Savage today. "But division supervisors refused to 'approve further contact with state authorities on this matter,' according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office auditing the activities of the division from 2001 to 2007."

  • August 26, 2009
    We note with sadness the passing of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a leading advocate of progressive ideals and a friend to ACS. Sen. Kennedy was a major draw at a 2002 ACS national event and more recently he authored an article for the summer 2008 volume of the Harvard Law & Policy Review (HLPR), the official journal of ACS, on the work of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

    A passionate and eloquent voice for the advancement of civil rights, Sen. Kennedy took great interest in the effectives of the Civil Rights Division, and in his article for HLPR wrote that during the Bush administration, a politicization of the Division had resulted in "significant damage to the Division's effectiveness, its reputation, and the morale of its career employees." In Restoring the Civil Rights Division, Kennedy maintained that the Division must be made devoid of political agendas and "return to its historic mission of addressing discrimination based on race in employment, education, housing, and voting."

    In a statement lauding Kennedy's life and work, President Obama said, "An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time."

    Additional articles and tributes recognizing Kennedy:

    The New York Times, Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Dies.

    The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times, Kennedy's Legal Legacy.

    Los Angeles Times, Edward Kennedy dies at 77; ‘liberal lion of the Senate.'

    The Washington Post, Colleagues, Leaders, Locals Mourn Senate ‘Patriarch.'

    Boston Globe, Kennedy dead at 77.

    Also watch The Huffington Post's "video retrospective" of Kennedy, by clicking the image below.