2015-2016 ACADEMIC YEAR: STUDENT CHAPTERS OF THE WEEK
Student Chapter of the Week February 8
University of Michigan Law School
The American Constitution Society at the University of Michigan Law School seeks to promote the fundamental values of the Constitution by holding events featuring prominent experts in the field of constitutional law, volunteering to educate others about their constitutional rights, and fostering debate on important constitutional issues. Michigan Law ACS hosted an array of events over the past semester, including:
Volunteer Teaching at Ann Arbor Public Schools for Constitution Day - Washtenaw County celebrated the Constitution for the 6th consecutive year by educating every middle school student in the Ann Arbor Public School system. Members of Michigan Law's ACS chapter volunteered to teach students at Clague Middle School about their Constitutional rights on Constitution Day.
Democratic Debate Viewing Party – Michigan Law ACS chapter provided popcorn, snacks, and beverages to encourage students to watch the first Democratic debate together on campus, thereby encouraging civic engagement and lively policy discussions.
Clague Middle School Field Trip - Michigan Law ACS hosted students from Clague Middle School for a field trip to its law school. The field trip included a tour of the law school, lunch, a lesson by Dean Bloom, a mock trial put on by the middle schoolers in the student courtroom, and a lecture by Professor Don Herzog.
Mass Incarceration: Strange Bedfellows & Prison Reform - Professor Margo Schlanger, the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law, explored how state courts, finances and politics are affecting contemporary debate on mass incarceration and prison reform. Professor Schlanger is a leading authority on civil rights issues and civil and criminal detention.
Michigan Law ACS is eager to organize more events this semester, including: a professor debate on affirmative action, a panel featuring leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement, and a non-partisan event about primary voting procedures.
Student Chapter of the Week February 1
Duke University School of Law
The Duke Law chapter of the American Constitution Society is honored to be Student Chapter of the Week. During the fall semester, the chapter offered a robust program for the Duke community. In August, the chapter welcomed then-Chair of the Federal Election Commission Ann Ravel to campus where she discussed the impact of Citizens United on campaign finance. In September, the chapter hosted then-Mayor of Chapel Hill Mark Kleinschmidt to discuss the future of marriage equality and held a conversation over coffee with Professor Neil Siegel on Constitution Day. In October, the chapter hosted or co-hosted events on "Money in Politics as a Civil Rights Issue," the role of technology on law enforcement, and a book talk with Ian Millhiser on the injustices the Supreme Court perpetuates.
In November, topical programming continued with a debate on "After Obergefell: The Future of the Equal Protection Clause," featuring Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel and National Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal, William Duncan, Director of the Marriage Law Foundation, and Duke's own Professors Neil Siegel and Katherine Bartlett. The chapter also had a fantastic discussion on the role of black women in the Black Lives Matter movement with Professor Wahneema Lubiano, a conversation about the Thirteenth Amendment on its sesquicentennial with Professors Darrell Miller, Laura Edwards, and George Rutherglen, a book talk on the past and future of voting rights with journalist Ari Berman, and a conversation about domestic violence and the Confrontation Clause with Assistant State Attorney Dermot Garrett and Professors Tom Lininger and Lisa Griffin.
This spring, ACS Duke is excited to continue strong programming that will touch on topical areas of law, policy, and society including gun control, affirmative action, redistricting, and the role of transparency at the Supreme Court.
Student Chapter of the Week January 25
Emory University School of Law
Emory’s ACS chapter led off its Fall semester with Dean Robert A. Schapiro of the Emory University School of Law, who delivered a review of key cases and trends of the October 2014 Supreme Court term. Continuing on the theme of the Supreme Court, visiting professor Fred Smith spoke to the chapter about his experience clerking for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Judge Barrington Parker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge Myron Thompson at the Middle District of Alabama. The chapter was privileged to co-host a spirited panel discussion on race, poverty, and justice in post-Ferguson America with defense attorney and activist Mawuli Davis, civil rights attorney Brian Spears, Southern Center for Human Rights attorney Sarah Geraghty, and Emory Law professor Gerry Weber. The chapter next locked horns with Emory’s Federalist Society, co-hosting a debate, Resolved: Repeal All the Campaign Finance Laws, that pitted Steve Simpson of the Ayn Rand Institute, for the affirmative, against Georgia State law professor Tim Kuhner, for the negative. Finally, the chapter was proud to co-sponsor a panel with its Georgia State sister chapter previewing the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly, moderated by political reporter Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and featuring state representatives David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) and Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta).
The chapter is excited to announce its keynote event of the year, Skewed Justice, a February 17 panel about money, campaigns, and elected judges. ACS contributor and Emory law professor Joanna Shepherd will moderate, and the chapter will welcome Hon. Sue Bell Cobb, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, and Hon. Marsha Ternus, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, to discuss their experiences with judicial elections.
Student Chapter of the Week January 18
Tulane University Law School
The Tulane chapter of ACS continues to foster discussion and bring attention to the progressive legal issues of today. ACS Tulane has already had an exciting semester full of topical events and looks forward to a strong spring semester.
Professor Keith Werhan, ACS faculty advisor, spoke at the inaugural event of the year on Kim Davis, equality before the law, and the separation of church and state. ACS next held a roundtable discussion hosted by Professors Pamela Metzger and Katherine Mattes on the issue of elected judiciaries and how the increased politicization of the judicial process has eroded the quality of justice. For ACS’s final event of 2015, ACLU lawyer and Tulane law alum Nancy Abudu outlined the wave of state legislation aimed at limiting the right to vote and its disparate impact on minorities.
The first event of the upcoming Spring semester will be entitled “The American Nightmare – America’s Broken Immigration System,” where the Tulane chapter of ACS will host Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court case Texas v. United States, involving Texas's challenge to President Obama's executive order granting deferred status to certain undocumented immigrants.
Later in the semester, the chapter hopes to hold joint events with other progressive legal organizations, continue to work with the New Orleans Lawyer chapter of ACS, and co-host a debate with the Tulane chapter of the Federalist Society.
Thanks to the guidance of the law faculty at Tulane, ACS’s dynamic and dedicated Senior Board, and the energetic support of the fantastic student body, ACS looks forward to remaining a voice for America’s progressive ideals at Tulane University Law School.
Student Chapter of the Week January 11
Stanford Law School
The Stanford ACS Chapter had an extremely busy Fall quarter, organizing and co-sponsoring more than fifteen engaging events. Some of the highlights included:
- "Communities in Crisis: Gentrification and Displacement in Silicon Valley," a dinner discussion with East Palo Alto housing advocates about local policies and legal strategies for reducing the displacement of low- and middle-income residents from Silicon Valley.
- Prof. Jane Schacter, Kate Calimquim (Larkin Center), and Asaf Orr (National Center for Lesbian Rights) gave a lunch talk on the next frontier for LGBTQ rights after marriage.
- Happy Hour and Conversation with ACS President Caroline Fredrickson on the topic of Tipping the State Courts in Favor of Working Women.
- Greg Lukianoff discussed free speech and the marketplace of ideas on college campuses
- Lunch conversation between Professor Pam Karlan and Honorable Myron H. Thompson, senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and recipient of Stanford’s 2015 National Public Service Award
- North Oakland Restorative Justice Council's Malachi Scott and Rose Elizondo led a roundtable dinner discussion on restorative justice and reentry work in the Bay Area
- Prof. Jayashri Srikantiah, Lisa Weissman-Ward, and Prof. Jenny Martinez gave a lunch talk about the Syrian refugee crisis, and the differences in laws and approaches to the crisis in the US and Europe.
Stanford ACS Chapter looks forward to hosting many more exciting events and programs this quarter, including student visits to federal judges and courthouses, an ACS reading group led by Profs. Michelle Anderson and Juliet Brodie, a discussion on solitary confinement led by Professor Jules Lobel, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and a panel with Prof. Jayashri Srikantiah, Dean Kevin Johnson (UC-Davis), and Prof. Jennifer Chacon to talk about about persistent racism and xenophobia in American discourse on immigration 50 years after the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, the chapter is excited to kick off a new initiative with the Bay Area Lawyers Chapter that will bring together attorneys and law students for small group dinners to facilitate networking and mentorship.
Student Chapter of the Week December 14
University of North Carolina School of Law
The UNC chapter of ACS has enjoyed a tremendous semester full of impactful events on and off campus. Besides student outreach efforts, the chapter hosted numerous speakers including author Ian Millhiser, who spoke on his new book about the Supreme Court, and author Matthew Stewart, who spoke on his new book about the history behind the separation of church and state. The chapter co-sponsored with the Federalist Society to host a debate on the fairness of equality featuring UNC Professor Bill Marshall and Dr. Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. Finally, the chapter partnered with Americans United and North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections to host events for Constitution Day and “Money in Politics as a Civil Rights Issue.” The chapter is looking forward to building on these successes in 2016.
Student Chapter of the Week December 7
University of Notre Dame Law School
The Notre Dame Law School’s (NDLS) ACS Chapter is having an exciting fall semester. The 2015-2016 year has proven promising for the chapter with an increase in membership and events hosted. The chapter hosted several lunch events, including:
- A lecture on “Federalism and Marijuana Legalization” by Vanderbilt Law Professor Robert Mikos.
- A conversation titled “Solider, Scholar, Mayor: A Conversation with Peter Buttigieg” focused on Buttigieg’s experience as a progressive politician at the local government level.
- A conversation with Judge Ann Williams of the Seventh Circuit, regarding her career and legal jurisprudence.
- A lecture on school choice, “An Introduction to School Choice” by NDLS Professor John Schoenig.
- A lecture “LGBT Rights: The Elusive Search for Balance” by Indiana Law Professor Steve Sanders.
The Notre Dame Law School ACS chapter also collaborated with other organizations on campus to co-sponsor the following events:
- A discussion with Ralph Neas on “The Voting Rights Act: Past and Future.”
- A panel discussion featuring three union side attorneys and a member of the National Labor Review Board on “Educating Law Students on the Rights and Needs of Workers.”
- A lecture and reception for Public Interest Fellowships with NDLS graduates who have received the Shaffer and Bank of America Fellowships.
The Notre Dame Law School ACS Chapter is looking forward to another exciting semester. The Chapter is committed to promoting a progressive vision of the law to improve the lives of all people.
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.