2015-2016 ACADEMIC YEAR: STUDENT CHAPTERS OF THE WEEK
Student Chapter of the Week November 30
University of California Berkeley School of Law
To start off the 2015-2016 academic year, the Berkeley chapter has focused on collaborating with a variety of student groups and getting first year students excited and involved with ACS. The chapter kicked off the fall semester with a panel on the future for LGBT rights after Obergefell v. Hodges, featuring Elizabeth Gill, Senior Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, Alexandra Robert Gordon, Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Max Pritt, Senior Associate at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, and Professor Melissa Murray. The chapter followed up this event to partner with the Federalist Society in a Supreme Court Review & Preview, featuring Professors John Choon Yoo and Jesse Choper.
The chapter has also held watch parties for both the Democratic and GOP debates. In late October, students visited the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for oral arguments, and met with judges to discuss their views on appellate advocacy. The chapter has also welcomed Professor Kathy Abrams for a lunch talk, where she discussed her work on immigration rights and social activism with a small group of students. Recently, the chapter hosted Derrick Wang, the author of Scalia/Ginsburg, to have coffee with ACS and the Federalist Society.
Looking forward to the spring semester, Berkeley will join the Stanford Chapter to host Judge Tigar of the Northern District of California for the third year running. The chapter will also hold events with Judge Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and recent law school graduate Jarrett Adams, as well as a panel with Berkeley professors on standing in the federal courts. The Berkeley ACS chapter is excited to continue building relationships among students and lawyers around the Bay Area.
Student Chapter of the Week November 23
Northwestern University School of Law
The Northwestern University School of Law Student Chapter has brought a progressive lens to several issues and recently hosted an exciting array of events. The chapter hosted Northwestern’s first annual Supreme Court Term Preview, featuring Harvard Law Professor Mark Tushnet, ACLU of Illinois Executive Director Colleen Connell, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Annie Kastanek. Professor (and ACS faculty advisor) Erin Delaney moderated the discussion.
The chapter partnered with the Black Law Students Association and the Latino Law Students Association to raise awareness of increasingly restrictive voting laws and effects on communities of color, despite the Voting Rights Act’s fifty-year legacy. The topic’s speakers represented the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF).
Often collaborating with other student groups (including the Federalist Society, the Health Law Society and Law Students for Reproductive Justice), the Northwestern Law chapter has convened discussions and debates on topics including:
- reproductive rights, featuring Professor Andrew Koppelman and Quinnipiac University Law Professor Stephen Gilles;
- mass incarceration, featuring Visiting Professor Meredith Rountree;
- the scientific and due process considerations behind civil commitment decisions, with Professor Candice Player;
- the overreach of corporate speech, featuring Harvard Law Professor John Coates;
- the path to the federal bench, featuring Hon. Wayne Anderson, Hon. Edmond Chang, and Hon. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox of the Northern District of Illinois; and
- institutional reforms at the Supreme Court, featuring Gabe Ross of Fix the Court and Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Mikva.
With the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, the chapter co-sponsored a symposium on mitigating racial bias in policing, keynoted by Georgetown Law Professor Paul Butler, and it will close this semester with a discussion on campus sexual assault prevention reforms, featuring Professor (and ACS faculty advisor) Deborah Tuerkheimer.
Student Chapter of the Week November 16
Brigham Young University Law School
The ACS Chapter at Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School continues to promote progressive legal views of the Constitution with regards to individual rights and liberties, equality, access to justice, and rule of law.
To generate interest in ACS, the chapter participated in the law school’s club fair and held an opening social to kick start the year. Guided by faculty advisor Professor Fred Gedicks, the chapter hosted events on immigration detention, Obergefell v. Hodges featuring remarks from Utah Professor Clifford Rosky and judicial nominations during the Fall 2015 semester. The chapter plans on addressing issues related to race & criminal justice, law, religion, & politics, the Innocence Project, and the Second Amendment through various substantive events in the coming months.
The BYU Chapter is grateful for the support it has received from new student members, the current board and ACS National, and hopes to continue putting on high quality events in the Spring semester.
Student Chapter of the Week November 9
Harvard Law School
The Harvard Law School ACS Chapter has already had an exciting year, kicking off the fall semester with a conversation between Justice Elena Kagan and Dean Martha Minow and a Constitution Day presentation by Professor Michael Klarman. The chapter has hosted numerous lunch events, including:
- a talk on the prospects for closing Guantanamo with former State Department Envoy for Guantanamo Closure and ACS Board Member Cliff Sloan
- a panel on accountability at the Supreme Court featuring Fix The Court's Gabe Roth and Visiting Professor Stephen Sachs
- a talk on the constitutional dimensions of school discipline with Professor Derek Black
- a presentation on social change and Black Lives Matter with Professor Elizabeth Beaumont
- a discussion of social welfare with Professor Maxine Eichner.
The chapter has many more exciting events planned, including an upcoming series on issues that matter for the 2016 election, featuring New York Times Legal Columnist and ACS Board Member Linda Greenhouse, Professor Larry Tribe and Everytown.org's Adam Skaggs.
The chapter recently planned its first trip to New York to meet influential progressives including US Attorney Preet Bharara, Judge Paul Engelmayer of the SDNY, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the NY Court of Appeals and Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg. Next semester, the chapter will visit DC and Boston.
Harvard ACS has continued its outreach across campus, beginning a “Conversation on Race” program with the Black Law Students Association and the Federalist Society. The chapter has also recruited members for over a dozen committees, an intramural football team, community service projects and four policy issue teams, which are working on innovative projects relating to race and policing, college affordability, gun violence and corporate governance. The Harvard ACS Chapter recently won the ACS Membership contest by making the largest gains in membership during August and September.
Student Chapter of the Week November 2
University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Under the guidance of faculty advisor Sam Erman, the ACS Chapter at the University of Southern California has proven itself as an up-and-coming voice in fostering passionate and scholarly conversations on progressive causes. The chapter recently hosted the ACS Southern California Regional Convening, featuring captivating conversations on campaign finance, racial profiling, immigration, and capital punishment. The event highlighted USC faculty Jody Armour, Rebecca Brown, Niels Frenzen, Emily Ryo and Abby Wood, among others, and featured the perspective of practitioners and advocates from Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
The chapter kicked off the semester with a vibrant Q&A session with Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian about gun control measures followed by a panel on the LGBT rights movement featuring West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman and Stephen David Simon, President of Stonewall Democratic Club. Looking forward, the chapter will co-host a Supreme Court Preview event with the Federalist Society and an evening reception with noted civil rights attorney Sandra Fluke and Professor Susan Estrich.
The USC Chapter is working hard to connect USC Law students with the strong progressive community of Los Angeles. It places special emphasis on California’s unique position as a national leader in progressive policy.
Student Chapter of the Week October 26
Yale Law School
The school year started with a series of exciting progressive events about creative approaches to radical lawyering, progressive legal scholarship, representation of immigrants and low-wage workers, and access to justice for historically marginalized groups. The Yale ACS Chapter’s first event of the year featured Alec Karakatsanis, the co-founder of Equal Justice under Law, discussing litigation to end debtors' prisons and money bail. They have since hosted a wide range of speakers including Judge Christopher Cooper of the D.C. Circuit and Columbia clinical professor Elora Mukherjee discussing legal services to women and children on the border and how ACS students can get involved to help end family detention.
In addition to welcoming this diverse group of speakers, the chapter also hosted a major national conference on Law and Inequality on October 16-17. The conference included keynote addresses from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Professor Zephyr Teachout and California State Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu. The event was attended by over 200 students, faculty, regional ACS members, community stakeholders and 20 legal scholars presenting. The chapter hopes the conference will be a spring board for future dialogue about progressive approaches to challenging entrenched forms of inequality!
This week, the chapter is excited to welcome both Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the Second Circuit and Rachel Tiven of the Immigrant Justice Corps to discuss access to counsel in immigration courts and to launch its series on wage theft. Yale ACS will also host a happy hour for progressive law students and ACS alums during alumni weekend.
Student Chapter of the Week October 19
Howard University School of Law
The Howard University School of Law chapter has been up on the rise since relaunching last fall. The 2015-2016 academic year has proved to be promising for the chapter and full of great events. To kick off the year, the Howard ACS chapter participated in Howard’s student organization fair introducing new 1Ls into the ACS network. In conjunction with the university, the chapter also hosted a student poll and Q&A session regarding the Constitution Day speaker, Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association, and her speech on “The Bill of Rights & the 50th Anniversary of Miranda.”
Upcoming events for the semester include a Supreme Court Preview with the chapter’s faculty advisor, Dean Lisa Crooms-Robinson, who will serve as a panelist reviewing the Supreme Court’s civil right cases. The chapter will also host distinguished author, Gilbert King, of The Devil in the Grove, in late-October for an in-depth discussion on the legacy of Howard Law alum Thurgood Marshall and the infamous Groveland civil rights case in Florida. Lastly, the chapter will host a Voting Rights panel on the potential disenfranchisement of newly married same-sex couples and convicted felons, along with a happy hour with the ACS DC Lawyer Chapter.
The Howard ACS chapter has worked tirelessly to ensure a prosperous chapter will always grace the campus and engage the student body and ACS community.
Student Chapter of the Week October 12:
University of Texas School of Law
The ACS Chapter at The University of Texas School of Law has continued to be a prominent force in encouraging progressive lawyering and academic thought within the Texas Law community. Guided by faculty advisors Lynn Blais, Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath, the chapter recently hosted a Constitution Day celebration featuring two events with California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.
The chapter looks forward to a busy semester, with events touching on immigration, voting rights, and the status of workers' rights in Texas and beyond.
Members of the American Constitution Society at Texas Law are working to engage as many students and community members as possible. We look forward to an exciting year!
Student Chapter of the Week October 5:
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
The ACS Chapter at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law has successfully hosted several events on topics ranging from marriage equality to the merits of constitutional/statutory interpretation. Guided by Faculty Advisor Daniel Tokaji, the chapter has been successful in recruiting many new members to ACS. Additionally, the chapter has been working with the Columbus Lawyer Chapter to plan events.
The chapter kicked off the year with a discussion on Obergefell v. Hodges and its legal ramifications. In addition, the chapter partnered with the Moritz Federalist Society to debate about the merits behind different types of ways to interpret the United States Constitution. Both were exciting events that have a profound impact in the legal community.
October will feature breakfast with Akhil Reed Amar and the school’s annual Supreme Court round-table featuring Douglas Berman, Daniel Tokaji, Katherine Northern, Christopher Walker and L. Camile Hebert.
Furthermore, the chapter plans to cosponsor a forum about wrongful convictions, and injustice caused by death row, as well as discussing legal consequences of King v. Burwell and the future of education in America—especially affirmative action. Finally, the chapter plans to host government officials from the local, state, and federal levels to talk about serving as a public official and advise law students on entry into government careers.
The American Constitution Society at Moritz is excited about this year and will be working hard to provide more exciting events in the future.
Student Chapter of the Week September 28:
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Guided by the invaluable support and wisdom of Faculty Advisor William Birdthistle, the American Constitution Society Chicago-Kent Student Chapter has continued to be a leading force in shaping debate and dialogue in our law school community. The Chapter recently completed a successful week-long celebration of the United States Constitution and the freedom embodied within it. The week began with a panel discussing last term’s Obergefell opinion and what’s next in the movement for marriage equality. It continued with a membership drive, followed by a debate on the Supreme Court’s recent Takings Clause cases. The week concluded with a Constitution Day happy hour with the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter.
The Chicago-Kent Chapter is also working to make ACS a regular contributor to law school life by distributing ACS pocket Constitutions to students taking Constitutional Law, engaging with faculty and providing a forum for professors to present their views of the law, and holding membership events to build a robust Chicago-Kent progressive network.
The chapter looks forward to an exciting semester, with a series of events that will engage both Chicago-Kent students and the greater Chicago legal community. Some upcoming events include a discussion on the prides and perils of representing disfavored clients, a Supreme Court term preview, and an all-day conference on pursuing a public interest career. Through this work ACS Chicago-Kent will continue to strive to promote a vision of the law that serves as a force to improve the lives of all people.