ACS Champions

2001 - 2016 ACS Champions
Over the past 15 years, our network of champions has been instrumental in ensuring that the law remains a force to improve the lives of all people. In honor of the 15th anniversary of our founding, we will be highlighting our ACS Champions in the weeks leading up to the 2016 ACS National Convention. 
Know an ACS Champion? Let us know at [email protected]!

June 3, 2016
Stephen Bright
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Stephen Bright for his unwavering commitment to ensuring human rights in the criminal justice and prison systems. Last week marked Bright’s third capital case won before the U.S. Supreme Court, when the Court overturned the conviction of an African American man who was sentenced to death by an all-white jury after prosecutors targeted and struck black jurors from the case. Bright is the President and Senior Counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights and teaches at Yale Law School. He often speaks at ACS events and provided incredibly moving remarks at the 2015 ACS National Convention

May 27, 2016

The Hon. John Lewis
This week, we highlight ACS Champion The Honorable John Lewis, for his lifelong commitment to and leadership in protecting human rights, civil liberties, and the right to vote. Congressman Lewis was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and continues to fight for equality. He represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the recipient of the 2013 ACS Progressive Champion award

May 20, 2016

Eva Paterson
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Eva Paterson for her influential leadership and advocacy on civil rights. Paterson is the President and Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society. She is a member of the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors and will be speaking on the “Being Explicit about Implicit Bias” panel at the 2016 National Convention next month. 

May 13, 2016
Dennis J. Herrera
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Dennis J. Herrera for his progressive leadership and advocacy. Herrera is the City Attorney of San Francisco, leading the office described as “one of the most aggressive and talented city law departments in the nation.” He is a member of the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors and the ACS National Board of Advisors. Herrera is also a former member of the ACS National Board of Directors.

May 6, 2016

Dahlia Lithwick
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Dahlia Lithwick for her remarkable coverage of courts and law and her success in making the legal system accessible through her columns and podcasts. Lithwick is a Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus. She is a regular speaker at ACS events and national conventions. Lithwick will be moderating the panel on “Race, Speech, and Inclusion on Campus” at the upcoming 2016 ACS National Convention.

April 29, 2016
Geoffrey R. Stone
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Geoffrey R. Stone, a foremost expert and progressive leader in several areas of constitutional law. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago Law School. He recently served on President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. Stone is co-faculty advisor to the ACS University of Chicago Law School student chapter, chair of the ACS Chicago lawyer chapter Board of Advisors, and a former chair of the ACS national Board of Directors. He has been a tremendous resource for ACS and is a frequent speaker at ACS chapter events and national conventions.

April 22, 2016

Lisa Heinzerling
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Lisa Heinzerling for her advocacy and scholarship in support of safeguarding our environment. Heinzerling is the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Heinzerling is a regular participant on national ACS panel discussions and has contributed to the ACSblog. She is the co-faculty advisor to the Georgetown University Law Center ACS student chapter. 

April 15, 2016

Kara Hartzler
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Kara Hartzler for her advocacy on behalf of immigrants. Hartzler has specialized in the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and is currently an appellate attorney at the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. She is the recipient of the 2013 ACS David Carliner Public Interest Award and a former member of the San Diego Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors.

April 8, 2016

Gerry Hebert
This week, we highlight ACS Champion J. Gerald Hebert (“Gerry”) for his tireless commitment to voting rights advocacy. Gerry is the Executive Director and Director of Litigation at the Campaign Legal Center. He has been instrumental in the creation of the Voting Rights Institute, a collaboration between ACS, the Campaign Legal Center, and Georgetown University Law Center. Gerry is a frequent speaker at ACS events, including speaking at nearly all of the Voting Rights Institute trainings held throughout the country. 

April 1, 2016

Jay Wexler
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Jay D. Wexler (@SCOTUSHUMOR) for his constitutional law scholarship and his study of humor at the Supreme Court. Jay is a Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law. He serves as faculty advisor to the ACS chapter at Boston University School of Law and serves on the Boston Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors.  

March 25, 2016

Anita Earls
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Anita Earls for her tireless work on voting rights and civil rights. Anita is the Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. She is a regular ACS speaker and serves on the ACS Judicial Nominations Task Force. Anita has provided remarks at several Voting Rights Institute trainings and was a panelist at the 2015 ACS National Convention

March 18, 2016

The Hon. Wendy Davis
This week, we highlight ACS Champion The Honorable Wendy Davis for her inspiring work on voting rights, women's rights and reproductive justice. Wendy Davis is a former Texas State Senator and a former Texas Gubernatorial candidate. She recently launched Deeds Not Words, an organization created to engage, energize, and amplify the voices of millennial women. She is a regular ACS speaker and has provided keynote remarks at ACS's 2015 National Convention and the 2015 Student Convention.

March 11, 2016

Judith L. Lichtman
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Judith L. Lichtman for her influential leadership in guiding the women’s equality movement. Judith Lichtman, the former president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, currently serves as a Senior Advisor at the National Partnership, which has been at the forefront of every major piece of civil rights legislation related to women and families for more than 40 years. She is a former ACS Board Member and presently serves on the ACS Judicial Nominations Task Force.

March 4, 2016
Stephen D. Susman
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Stephen D. Susman for his tireless work pursuing access to justice and preserving the right to a trial by jury. Stephen Susman is a founding partner at Susman Godfrey LLP and established The Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law, the only academic center in the nation whose sole purpose is to protect the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in civil cases. He is a former ACS Board Member, now on the ACS National Board of Advisors, and serves as co-chair of the ACS Judicial Nominations Task Force. 

February 26, 2016

The Hon. Eric Holder
This week, we highlight ACS Champion The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. for his work towards advancing civil rights and equal justice. The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. is a Partner at Covington & Burling LLP and previously served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States. He is the first African American to serve as Attorney General of the United States. He is a former member of the ACS National Board of Directors.

February 19, 2016

Nkechi Taifa
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Nkechi Taifa for her work influencing public policy debate in support of comprehensive justice reform. Nkechi is a Senior Policy Analyst at Open Society Foundations. She is a regular contributor to the ACSblog.

February 12, 2016

Ted Shaw
This week, we highlight ACS Champion Theodore M. “Ted” Shaw for his lifelong commitment to and work towards advancing civil rights. Ted is the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC School of Law. He is a former member of the ACS National Board of Directors.  

February 5, 2016

Janson Wu
This week, we highlight ACS Champion and 2012 David Carliner Public Interest Award recipient Janson Wu for his work in fighting for LBGT rights and full equality.  Janson is the Executive Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).


January 29, 2016
The Honorable Sue Bell Cobb
This week, we highlight ACS Champion The Honorable Sue Bell Cobb, Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, for her tireless advocacy for judicial campaign reform and sentencing reform. The recently-released short film Skewed Justice follows Justice Cobb’s personal story of stepping down from the bench after seeing the pressures that highly funded campaigns place on judicial decisions. 


January 22, 2016
Melissa Murray
This week, we highlight ACS Champion and member of the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors Melissa Murray. Melissa is a Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Berkeley Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice (CRRJ) at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-authored the first legal casebook on reproductive justice with Kristin Luker.

January 15, 2016

Zachary Norris
This week, we highlight ACS Champion and the 2015 David Carliner Public Interest Award Recipient Zachary Norris, the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, for his work in advocating for incarcerated youth.   

January 8, 2016

Peter Edelman

This week, we highlight ACS Champion and former ACS National Board Chair Peter Edelman for his work on poverty law and his role in starting the DC Affordable Law Firm.