Throughout the academic year, the ACS Student Chapters Department honors a Student Chapter of the Week. The chapter is featured on the ACS website, in the ACS weekly bulletin, and in the ACS Student Chapters weekly announcement. The selected chapters are ones that have held exceptional programming, have aligned themselves with the priorities of the national office or have established themselves as a premier student group on campus.
To view the Student Chapters of the Week for the 2014-15 Academic Year, click here.
2016-2017 ACADEMIC YEAR: STUDENT CHAPTERS OF THE WEEK
Student Chapter of the Week May 16
The University of Texas School of Law
As the school year begins, the University of Texas School of Law’s ACS Chapter is excited to bring robust programming to their campus this year, including ACS’s regional conference—Getting Radical In The South (GRITS) on October 14-15, 2016. While increasing their membership and building coalitions inside and outside of the law school (with other progressive organizations and practitioners), the Chapter is hosting a variety of events that range from voting rights to a conversation on police-community relations. The Chapter is also focused on lifting up the work being done in Texas surrounding reproductive justice. In collaboration with If, When, How (formerly LSRJ), Jane’s Due Process and the Lilith Fund, the Chapter will focus on programming that supports and advances the fight for reproductive justice in Texas and across the country.
Highlights of the Chapter’s programming and achievements are below:
A Reproductive Justice 101 Training with Lilith Fund Executive Director, Amanda Williams.
A discussion and presentation on Voting Rights in Texas and Beyond, which included a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR) training. The event featured the ACLU of Florida’s Nancy Abudu, Chad Dunn of Brazil & Dunn (who is litigating the Texas Voter ID case) and Cassandra Champion of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin.
ACS President Kendall Williams recently published an article on ABA for Law Students about Gavel Gap.
A Welcome Back Happy Hour to introduce UT Law’s new students to ACS.
A strategy meeting with the Austin Lawyer Chapter executive board.
The Chapter was a sponsor for Change It Up!, a public interest program that featured Rudy Acree, Jr., the Deputy Director of the Public Defender Service for D.C.
The End of an Era: The Supreme Court & the 2016 Election with Jason Steed discussing the Supreme Court over the past 45 years, the pivotal nature of the Garland appointment and the 2016 election.
Student Chapter of the Week May 16
New York University School of Law
As the school year comes to a close, the New York University School of Law’s ACS Chapter looks back on one of its best years yet. While increasing their membership and deepening their ties with other progressive groups on campus, they’ve put on a range of events from the rights of women and Native Americans to the environmental movement and wartime civil rights. The Chapter is especially proud of its active contributions to progressive legal advocacy, including continued collaboration with the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights & Elections Project.
A panel on Second Amendment advocacy with former U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman and several Second Amendment jurisprudence experts.
A talk with Shana Knizhnik and Irin Carmon on their new book, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A discussion on abortion rights cases before the Supreme Court.
A practitioner talk with Charles Borden, head of Allen & Overy's Political Law Group.
A conversation with Professor Linda Hirshman about her new book, Sisters In Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World.
The NYU Law’s ACS Chapter is looking forward to making an even bigger splash in the 2016-2017 academic year. Through increased community outreach efforts and student-group collaboration, they plan to fight even harder to defend the rights of marginalized communities and achieve a progressive vision of the Constitution. The Chapter is grateful to NYU Law, their Faculty Advisors Adam Cox and Burt Neuborne, and ACS National for their support.
Student Chapter of the Week May 9
University of Chicago Law School
The ACS Student Chapter at the University of Chicago has had an incredible 2015-16 school year, sponsoring over 20 events. The events ranged from debates between conservative and progressive professors, speeches by federal district and appellate judges, and attendance to ACS National's debate on gun violence. Chapter members also created an evening progressive debate society to build comradery among a diffuse progressive student body.
Under the guidance of our faculty advisors, Geoffrey R. Stone and Jennifer Nou, the student chapter also partnered with other student organizations, such as the ACLU and the Federalist Society, for a number of events. The student chapter also met with members of the judiciary in their chambers. Judge Jorge Alonso gave ACS members a tour of his chambers and introduced them to his fellow judges. During this tour, Judge Alonso discussed the transition from the State Bench to the Federal Bench. The student chapter’s program varied in content, as well. The chapter sponsored talks on police accountability at Chicago's Homan Square, Syrian refugees, Guantanamo and Supreme Court cases.
In addition, the University of Chicago Student Chapter reached out to the Illinois community. The chapter has collaborated with the Chicago Lawyer Chapter and student members volunteered at Chicago's Wills for Heroes program, where members assisted police officers, firemen, and veterans in preparing their wills. The ACS Student Chapter at the University of Chicago is grateful for ACS National’s support and hopes to maintain its energy and passion into the next school year.
With the support of Faculty Advisors Margaret Hu and Christopher Seaman, the Washington & Lee University School of Law student chapter had an exciting year. Holding fifteen events during the school year, the chapter focused on increasing name recognition and building a sustained membership base. Events for 2015-2016 included:
H. Jefferson Powell, Professor at Duke Law School, joined W&L and ACS to give his interim report at W&L’s campus wide Constitution Day;
A Supreme Court Preview featured a wide variety of cases including FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, and Evenwel v. Abbott;
A Screening of the film Vessel, provided a unique perspective on the realities created by anti-abortion laws around the world;
Alumnus Anthony Kreis spoke about LGBTQ rights and the intersection of anti-discrimination protections and religious liberty;
Ian Millhiser joined ACS to explain the judicial restraint found in Carolene Products footnote 4 for a Constitutional Interpretation Debate;
Chiraag Bains of the DOJ reported on solitary confinement and explained the guiding principles for reforming correctional practices;
Steve Miskinis of the DOJ’s Environmental and Natural Resource Division presented on public interest work, Indian rights, and clerking.
W&L’s Chapter is grateful for the support it received from all of its new members, the Faculty at W&L, and ACS Nationals. With a solid foundation on which to continue building, the Chapter hopes to have an even more successful 2016-2017 school year.
Under the leadership of faculty advisor Elise Boddie, the Rutgers Law School, Newark Student Chapter of ACS has had an outstanding year of high quality programming. We began our year by celebrating Constitution Day with Dean Ronald Chen. We then welcomed back Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice from Above the Law for a Supreme Court Preview.
In October, Professor Kermit Roosevelt III discussed “Politics, Policies, and Patriotism,” his latest novel, Allegiance, and what he learned in the process of writing Allegiance. Later that month, we welcomed Adam Skaggs from Everytown for Gun Safety to discuss the history of gun control laws and the latest developments in Second Amendment jurisprudence.
In November, Muzaffar Chishti from the Migration Policy Institute at NYU Law presented on birthright citizenship. This event was cosponsored with the Association of Latin-American Law Students. We also welcomed ACS National Board Member Debo Adegbile for a discussion on Voting Rights after Shelby County. We celebrated the 50th anniversary ofGriswold v. Connecticut with Hillary Schneller from the Center for Reproductive Rights. The last ACS event of the fall semester featured Rachel Bien from Outten & Golden LLP. Rachel discussed unpaid internships, specifically, the Second Circuit’s recent ruling in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures.
We began our spring semester with a discussion on what’s next for the LGBTQ community with Professor Carlos Ball. We cohosted a panel discussion with the Federalist Society and the Immigrants Rights Collective on sanctuary cities. In March, we cohosted a panel discussion with the Federalist Society on marijuana reform with former Colorado Assistant Solicitor General Michael Francisco and the ACLU of New Jersey’s Ari Rosmarin. We then welcomed ProfessorElizabeth Wilson for “People Power and the Problem of Sovereignty in International Law,” which was cosponsored with the Federalist Society and the Transportation, Trade, and Security Society.
Our chapter appreciates the hard work of our executive board in executing these great events. Our chapter thanks the national staff and our faculty advisor (and National Board Member) Professor Elise Boddie for their support.
The American Constitution Society Student Chapter at the University of Mississippi has had an outstanding year in terms of events and membership interest due to the support and encouragement of faculty advisor Michael Hoffheimer as well as new leadership. The chapter hosted and cohosted a variety of events in the 2015-2016 school year. Highlights include:
The Constitution: Dead or Alive?: A lecture by University of Mississippi School of Law Professors Michael Hoffheimerand Donna Davis that focused on constitutional interpretation, specifically, the problems with a narrow interpretation model and the benefits of a "living" constitution theory.
Lunch with a Lawyer: Monthly lunch meetings with local attorneys to discuss their practice, discuss how the Constitution relates to their work, and answer questions from students.
Debate Watch Parties: Students came together to watch the debates and discuss the political and legal issues surrounding this year’s election cycle.
Supreme Court Preview: A lecture previewing the cases going before the Supreme Court with ProfessorsMikaëla Adams, David W. Case, and Michèle Alexandre.
Roe at Risk: A screening of an award-winning documentary detailing women’s reproductive rights after Roe v. Wade.
Gideon’s Army: A screening of an award-winning documentary about public defenders in the south.
Path to the Bench: The chapter partnered with the Black Law Students Association to organize a discussion withJustice James E. Graves of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit about his path to the bench.
The Road to Same-Sex Marriage and TheSupreme Court Vacancy: Geoffrey Stone, former ACS National Board Chair and current Co-Faculty Advisor for the ACS Student Chapter at the University of Chicago, visited the law school to discuss same-sex marriage and met with the ACS Student Chapter to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy.
Due to the support and encouragement from Faculty Advisors Barry Sullivan, Henry Rose, and Mary Bird, the Loyola University Chicago School of Law student chapter was resurrected in full force last fall. The chapter hosted and co-hosted seventeen events in the 2015-2016 academic year, promoting the name and work of ACS and leading discussions on pressing legal issues.
The chapter commemorated the Constitution’s birthday by welcoming an esteemed panel of Guantanamo detainee defense attorneys: Marc Falkoff, H. Candace Gorman, and Loyola Law Alumnus Thomas Sullivan.
The chapter co-sponsored a panel discussion called “Criminalization of Poverty and Homelessness” which featured Loyola Law Professor Henry Rose, Margaret Stapleton, and Loyola Law student Victoria Dempsey.
Along with Loyola’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice, the chapter co-sponsored “Undue Burdens: The Increasing Restrictions on a Woman’s Right to Choose,” a panel discussion featuring Colleen Connell, Brigid Leahy, and Loyola Law Professor Alan Raphael.
The chapter co-hosted “The Punishment Clause: Legal Slavery Under the 13th Amendment” featuring Rebecca E. Zietlow, Jarrett Adams, Mary L. Johnson, and Loyola Law Professor Juan Perea.
The chapter hosted “After Scalia - What's Next for the Supreme Court,” featuring Loyola Professors Barry Sullivan, Alexander Tsesis, Steven Ramirez, and Nadia Sawicki.
In a conversation withDavid Melton, the chapter hosted “Money Influence in Elections” to discuss campaign finance reform and ways to reform the system.
In a panel featuringMichael Cannaris, Anita Maddali, and Maria Woltjen, the chapter led a discussion on the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
The chapter hosted a career panel entitled, “Pathways to People’s Lawyering,” featuringSharlyn Grace, Samoane Williams, and Jason Han to talk to students about nontraditional approaches to practicing law.
The chapter hosted a Symposium on Incarceration and Women to address the reality of prison for women. It featured guest speakers Alan Mills, Monica Cosby, Maya Schenwar, and Neli Vazquez Rowland.
The ACS Student Chapter at Saint Louis University School of Law has had an exceptional year of well-attended events, including debates, watching appeals court cases, and guest speakers. Working under the guidance of faculty advisorJoel Goldstein, highlights from our events are:
Roper v. Simmons: Members of the Missouri Supreme Court discussed a case that presaged SCOTUS’s review of the death penalty juvenile offenders. Judges Stith, White, Teitelman, and Wolff, who authored the case’s opinion, spoke, as well as an expert in forensic psychiatry and the juvenile brain, James Cho, M.D. Judge Teitelman praised ACS, nicknaming it “the American Change Society.”
Reflections on Justice Scalia: ACS faculty advisor, Joel Goldstein, and other distinguished speakers reflected about Justice Scalia to an audience of students and lawyers. Professor Goldstein focused on the appointment of Scalia’s replacement, observing that the Constitution is not a “suicide pact” and should lead to workable government.
Voting Rights: Denise Lieberman from the Advancement Project spoke about changes to the Voting Rights Act sinceShelby, and legal challenges to voter requirement laws in North Carolina, where Ms. Lieberman is one of the lawyers on record. She also covered practical steps each student could take to solidify voting rights in Missouri.
Triggerfish and the 4th Amendment: Brian Owsley, a nationally recognized expert on cell tower emulators, discussed how law enforcement uses these devices, and how statutes and the Constitution protect the public from unauthorized access.
Prison Reform: Jeff Smith discussed practical reforms to prison systems, covering issues he discovered through his incarceration and subsequent release from a federal penitentiary.
Constitution Day Debate: Law professors debated whether a County Clerk can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Through the support of faculty and student leaders, the ACS chapter at Saint Louis University fosters a progressive environment where students learn about a living Constitution’s relevance to current events.
The Washington University in St. Louis School of Law student chapter has had a very exciting year. Under the guidance of co-faculty advisors, Professors Karen Tokarz and Greg Magarian, the Wash U Law chapter hosted and cosponsored a number of terrific events, continuing ACS's strong presence on campus and fostering informative discussion and debate.
The chapter kicked off the year with their annual Supreme Court Review for the 2014-2015 term. This discussion highlighted major cases including Obergefell v. Hodges, Glossip v. Gross, Reed v. Gilbert, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and King v. Burwell. It featured outstanding speakers and members of the Wash U community including Professors Susan Appleton, Lee Epstein, Bill Freivogel, Greg Magarian, Elizabeth Sepper, and Karen Tokarz. This event was cosponsored by the Gephardt Institute.
The chapter hosted a panel discussion on Ferguson: One Year Later. This panel discussed community policing, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the media's portrayal of St. Louis. The featured speakers were Romona Taylor Williams, Executive Director of the Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equity, Bradley Rayford, an award-winning photojournalist who covered Ferguson, and Wash U Law Professor John Inazu. This event was co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association.
Along with their colleagues at the Federalist Society, the Wash U Law student chapter organized a State of the Union Watch Party at Urban Chestnut, a local brewery in St. Louis. This event brought the chapters together to welcome their student members back to St. Louis for the spring semester.
The chapter partnered with the Energy and Environmental Law Society to organize a panel discussion called Beyond Flint: Three Perspectives on Environmental Justice. The speakers included Wash U Law Professor Maxine Lipeles, policy advisor Harvey Ferdman, and community activist Dawn Chapman.
The chapter partnered with the Law School and the Federalist Society to organize a panel discussion on Justice Scalia’s legacy and the Supreme Court vacancy. The speakers included Wash U Law Professors Greg Magarian, Lee Epstein, Neil Richards, and Dean Nancy Staudt.
The chapter also worked with the Public Service Advisory Board and the Immigration Law Society for a Refugee Simulation Experience, where students got a taste of the difficult experiences refugees face as they seek safety and a better life in other countries. After the simulation, students listened to remarks from Blake Hamilton at the International Institute of St. Louis.
The Wash U Law student chapter has also continued their participation in ACS's Constitution in the Classroom program, providing lessons in constitutional law to middle school students in an after-school program. The chapter also cosponsored events on voting rights and debt collection practices in St. Louis hosted by the Black Law Students Association, a speech featuring Judge Phyllis Frye hosted by OUTLaw, and a talk on crime-fighting technology hosted by the Federalist Society.
The Georgia State chapter of the American Constitution Society was revitalized this year, thanks to the tireless efforts of Faculty Advisors Professor Neil Kinkopf and Professor Jessica Gabel Cino. The chapter has focused on reestablishing its presence on campus and fostering student interest in ACS. It hit the ground running by cosponsoring events with other student organizations and hosting several well-attended panels. Highlights include:
“A Discussion on the Georgia Supreme Court” with Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias. ACS and the Federalist Society co-hosted this event. Justice Nahmias discussed a broad range of issues involving the GA Supreme Court and answered questions from the audience on a wide variety of topics.
“Georgia Legislative Preview” with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway, Rep. Scott Holcomb and Rep.David Wilkerson. The panel discussed legislative initiatives likely to be deliberated by state lawmakers in the GA General Assembly's next term. The Georgia State Student Chapter co-sponsored this event with the Emory and John Marshall Student Chapters and the Georgia Lawyer Chapter.
“Implications of Justice Scalia’s Death” with Professors Neil Kinkopf, Eric Segall, Patrick Wiseman and Alexander “Sasha” Volokh. This panel, organized four days after Justice Scalia’s passing, discussed the impact Justice Scalia’s passing will likely have on both the Supreme Court and national politics.
“#LawyersStandUp: Learning How to Represent Protestors and Activists in Today’s Social Justice Movement” withMawuli Davis, Jeff Filipovits and Brian Spears. This presentation discussed how to effectively act as a lawyer for protestors who are arrested as a result of their activism.
The chapter has several exciting upcoming events, including a meeting with ACS National President Caroline Fredrickson, a panel with members of Veterans for Peace and a presentation on post-conviction exoneration from the Executive Director of the Georgia Innocence Project, Aimee Maxwell.
Under the guidance of Professors Patricia Broussard and Joseph K. Grant, the Florida A&M College of Law Chapter of the American Constitution Society has displayed its commitment to fostering debate on constitutional issues and building networks by hosting and co-sponsoring a series of exciting events this year including:
“Judicial Clerkship Symposium” with Hon. Marc Lubet, Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, the Hon. Paul Byron,U.S. District Court, and their law clerks.
“Skewed Justice” with Professor Steven Ramirez, Loyola University Chicago. Professor Ramirez discussed campaign finance, judicial elections, and its effect of mass incarceration.
“The Truth About Defund Planned Parenthood” with Professor Patricia Broussard, Florida A&M, Professor Jennifer Sandoval, University of Central Florida, and Anna Eskamani, Director of Public Policy & Field Ops for Planned Parenthood. This event was co-sponsored with the Women’s Law Caucus and celebrated the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and discussed the Defund Planned Parenthood movement and its implications.
“Environmental Justice Panel” with community activists and local environmental lawyers to discuss the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color.
A “Black Lives Matter Vigil” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Florida A&M’s ACS chapter attended the Black Lives Matter vigil to honor those who have lost their lives to police brutality.
“American College of Bankruptcy Panel” with the Hon. Michael Williamson, Chief Judge for Florida Middle District Bankruptcy Court, the Hon. Karen Jennemann, Middle District Bankruptcy Court, and three prominent bankruptcy attorneys. The panelists discussed the intricacies and opportunities in bankruptcy law practice and provided insight into the very exclusive membership of the American College of Bankruptcy.
The Florida A&M College of Law ACS Chapter has more exciting upcoming events including a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Miranda, a panel discussion on criminal justice reform and the implementation of “best practices” for drug policy reform, a symposium discussing the Flint water crisis, an Innocence Project panel discussion and a Diversity Dinner and Happy Hour.
University of California Los Angeles School of Law
Working under Faculty Advisor Adam Winkler, the UCLA Law Student Chapter of the American Constitution Society has been extremely active this year. The chapter has focused on co-sponsoring events with other student organizations and increasing network opportunites for its board members. Some of this year's highlights include:
"Griswold v. Connecticut: 50 Years Later," a discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the Griswold case featuring three nationally renowned experts, Christine Pelosi, Michele Goodwin, and Sandra Fluke.
"#BlackLivesMatter and the Constitution,” featuring USC Professor Jody Armour.
"The For People of Color Conference", a day-long conference, in collaboration with La Raza, dedicated to helping individuals of color with the law school application process.
An assault rifle debate featuring Adam Skaggs of Everytown USA and Sean Brady, a Civil Rights Litigator and Regulator Compliance Counsel at Michel & Associates, P.C.
"Path to the Federal Bench," a lunch event on the path to a career on the Federal Bench featuring Ninth Circuit judges and UCLA Law alumni Hon. Jacqueline Nguyen, Hon. Kim Wardlaw and Hon. PaulWatford.
The UCLA Law Student Chapter of ACS looks forward to the rest of the semester and hopes to continue being a prominent, progressive voice on campus and in the community.
This fall, the Columbia Law School ACS Chapter had one of its best semesters yet. The chapter hosted and co-sponsored a number of timely events, tackling recent and upcoming Supreme Court decisions. Highlights include:
“Fisher and Affirmative Action” Panel: Dennis Parker, Director of ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, joined CLS Professors Olati Johnson and Susan Sturm in a discussion about the Equal Protection Clause challenge to UT’s affirmative action program.
“Religious Liberty and the Supreme Court”: An ACS–FedSoc Debate featuring panelists Walter Olson of the Cato Institute and CLS Professors Katherine Franke and Philip Hamburger. Topics included Hobby Lobby, RFRAs, and religious exemptions to laws.
ACS National President Caroline Fredrickson (CLS ’92) visited as Columbia Law School’s SJI Visitor from Social Justice Practice. She spoke about the legislative compromises that left out many poor women and women of color from employment protections.
“After Obergefell: Continuing Challenges to LGBT Rights”: A panel including religious liberties, privacy rights, and the future of LGBT rights. Featuring Rose Saxe of the ACLU, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal, and CLS Professor Katherine Franke.
Professor Kermit Roosevelt III of Penn Law spoke about Japanese Internment camps, Guantánamo Bay, and his novel Allegiance.
Everytown for Gun Safety’s Adam Skaggs discussed the history of the Second Amendment and upcoming SCOTUS case Wrenn v. District of Columbia.
New York Times journalist Linda Greenhouse discussed the implications of Justice Scalia’s death for the current term, including for the Whole Woman’s Health case, as well as for the Court’s future.
Some events in the works for the spring semester: a lunch talk with New York Times journalist Linda Greenhouse; “Death Penalty and the Eighth Amendment” featuring Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights and CLS Professor Bernard Harcourt; “The State of Voting Rights” Panel with Campaign Legal Center’s Gerald Hebert and Former Assistant Attorney General Debo Adegbile; and a discussion of the processes and strategies behind national gender discrimination litigation with attorney David Sanford of Sanford Heisler Kimpel.
The ACS Chapter at Maurer has provided the IU community a diverse set of progressive programs aimed to bring awareness to various causes.
Working under the guidance of ACS Faculty Advisor and ACS National Board member Dawn Johnsen, ACS kicked off the year in September with a progressive student mixer co-sponsored with OUTlaw, Black Law Students Association, Latino Law Students Association, Environmental Law Society, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and the Feminist Law Forum. ACS then hosted Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate Magazine, for a Constitution Day event in which Ms. Lithwick spoke about the four female Supreme Court Justices and their role in shaping the Court’s jurisprudence. In October, ACS co-hosted a panel of law professors and religion scholars concerning conflicts between religious liberty and LGBT rights. Weeks later, ACS held “Purvi Patel: Reproductive Rights, Litigation, and Criminal Law,” a panel discussing Indiana law on the intersection of reproductive rights and criminal law. In November, ACS partnered with the Feminist Law Forum and other student organizations to host “Let’s Talk,” a consciousness-raising event encouraging discussion of issues relevant to the diverse student body at Maurer Law. The last ACS event of the fall semester was “"Can You Sign Your Rights Away?” a documentary screening and panel discussion event about forced arbitration clauses and issues regarding access to justice. Sprinkled throughout the semester was the “Dinner and an Argument” series in which ACS played recordings of recent, controversial Supreme Court oral arguments and discussed the implications of the outcome.
This spring, Maurer is excited to have a very strong list of programs. On February 2, ACS and Outlaw joined hands to bring Jim Obergefell to Maurer to discuss his journey to the Supreme Court in the case of “Obergefell v. Hodges,” the landmark decision that brought marriage equality to the United States. Later in the spring, ACS will be hosting Louise Melling, ACLU Deputy Legal Director, Director of Center for Liberty and the Campaign to End the Use of Religion to Discriminate and will also host a panel on judicial elections.
The Penn Law ACS Chapter has had an action-packed fall and spring semester, shaping conversations around progressive issues at panel discussions, coffee chats, and happy hours. The chapter focused its efforts on cosponsoring events with other student groups and creating spaces for informal interactions between students, professors, and practitioners. Some of our programming highlights include:
Supreme Court Review and happy hour featuring Professor Rogers Smith, Freedom to Marry’s Marc Solomon, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State’s Greg Lipper, moderated by Professor Tobias Wolff.
“Don’t Throw Away the Key: Perspectives on Juvenile Life Without Parole Sentences,” a lunch event featuring the Juvenile Law Center’s Marsha Levick, author and public defender Jeanne Bishop, and author Cindy Sanford. Penn’s Youth Advocacy Project and Black Law Students Association co-sponsored the event.
A lunch event on public service in big law, featuring distinguished lawyers from Dechert and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
A debate on gun safety and policy with the Federalist Society, featuring Everytown’s Adam Skaggs and the National Gun Rifle Association’s John Frazer.
The chapter has many more exciting events planned, including a conversation with Trevor Potter, former commissioner and chairman of the FEC and leading lawyer behind Stephen Colbert’s Super Pac, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.” The chapter continues to host ACS’s Constance Baker Motley Writing Competition and grow its membership, recently winning the ACS Membership contest by making the largest gains in membership during October.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ChicagoLawyers 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 ProfessorCandice 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, andHon. Magistrate Judge Susan Coxof 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.