Despite slow improvements in the economy, the job market for new lawyers remains a significant challenge. Many young attorneys interested in public service work worry about whether there is an adequate infrastructure in place to support a public interest career choice. What are the options at state and local levels and how can recent graduates secure a place in those settings? Are there innovative alternatives to pursue public interest work in non-traditional settings, like public firms? Can a progressive public interest law firm be created inside a city or county counsel's office? This panel included lawyers from state and local public offices. Participants discussed traditional and innovative options.
Representative Crisanta Duran, Colorado General Assembly
Kathleen Morris, Associate Professor of Law, Golden Gate University School of Law
Gene R. Nichol, Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity, University of North Carolina School of Law
Shanna Singh Hughey, Senior Advisor, Mayor Karl Dean
Amanda Tyler, Ways and Means Counsel, Office of U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (Texas)
The Value of a Vote: Reassessing Political Equality (June 14)
Over the last decade the Supreme Court has shown an increased interest in weighing in on issues affecting the integrity of the political process. From the Court’s holding in Citizens United v. FEC to its recent decision to grant certiorari in Shelby County v. Holder, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Court’s rulings have a significant impact on political equality in this country. How will these decisions affect the health of our democracy? What are the implications of Shelby on the future of voting rights? Has the Court dismissed the idea that equalizing opportunity for political influence is a legitimate value when it comes to voting rights and campaign finance regulation? What is the future for voter political participation? What challenges lie ahead? Panelists explored these and other questions in a thought provoking discussion about the vitality of our democracy and the civic participation on which it relies.
Linda Greenhouse, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Ryan P. Haygood, Director of the Political Participation Group, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF)
Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University
Fifty years ago the United States Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright, one of the most renowned and celebrated cases in our constitutional history. Today we recognize Gideon not only for the right to court appointed counsel that it protects but also for the commitment to equal justice under law that it symbolizes. Some, however, have argued that Gideon has proved to be only an empty promise and that the right to meaningful representation is more illusory than real. This panel examined Gideon and the state of the American justice system (civil and criminal) at the federal, state, and local levels.
Stephen B. Bright, President and Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights
Derwyn Bunton, Chief District Defender, Orleans Parish, Louisiana
Scott Burns, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association
M. Clara Hernandez, Chief Public Defender, El Paso County, Texas
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York State Court of Appeals
David Porter, Assistant Federal Defender, Eastern District of California
Federal Judges Gary Feinerman, Lucy H. Koh, Beverly B. Martin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Theodore A. McKee, Judge David S. Tatel, and Judge Diane P. Wood discuss their experiences serving on the federal bench, and what inspired them to become judges in the first place. They also talked about their experience going through Senate confirmation, reflected on changes in the process since then, and how their experiences in public service or on state courts have impacted their careers as federal judges. Finally, the judges offered advice to potential judges to prepare themselves for the process by becoming familiar with the application process and becoming an active member of local bar associations.
Judge Gary Feinerman, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Judge Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Judge Beverly B. Martin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Judge David S. Tatel, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Judge Diane P. Wood, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Moderated by ACS President Caroline Fredrickson
Courts, the Constitution, and Social Change (June 15)
One need only look at the Supreme Court’s consideration of marriage equality and affirmative action this term to be reminded of the important role courts can play in social movements, whether it is to advance causes or slow them down. Throughout American constitutional history, the courts have at times been at the vanguard of social change, with such cases as Brown, Lawrence and Roe being among the more notable examples. At other times, the Supreme Court has stood as an obstacle to social progress. This panel focused on the questions of what should be the role of the courts in debates over major social issues and how rules of constitutional interpretation do and should play into this discussion.
Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School
Olatunde Johnson, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
Associate Justice Goodwin Liu, California Supreme Court
Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Reva Siegel, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Member, ACS Board of Directors
David A. Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Judge Vaughn R. Walker; Former Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
With back-to-back blockbuster terms, the Supreme Court continues to capture our collective imagination, as well as impact the lives of all Americans. The journalists who cover the Court day-in and day-out have a unique perspective on the Justices and how cases get decided. This panel of Supreme Court reporters took us inside the Supreme Court Press Room, reflected on the October 2012 term, the personalities and shifting alliances on the Court, and the possibility of upcoming vacancies.
Kimberly Atkins, Staff Writer, Lawyers USA
Joan Biskupic, Legal Affairs editor-in-charge, Reuters News
Thomas Goldstein, Founding Partner, Goldstein & Russell, P.C.
Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Correspondent, The New York Times
Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent, NPR
Friday, June 14, Breakout Sessions:
Corporations have prevailed with First Amendment arguments in several contexts, including credit rating agency opinions, and most recently, marketing and advertising regulation. In the 2010-2011 Term, in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., the Court held that pharmacies have a First Amendment right to sell prescription records to marketing and data mining companies. In Citizens United, the Court held that it was unconstitutional to ban free speech through the limitation of independent communications by corporations, associations, and unions. Is the Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence furthering corporate interests at the expense of public interests? Are these decisions fueling litigation strategies in the lower courts that promise increased expansion of corporate rights? Or are critics just being dismissive of free speech rights because they do not like the speaker? Our panel described, from a variety of perspectives, the implications of the Court’s pronounced shift on corporate First Amendment issues.
David M. Brodsky, Principal, Brodsky ADR LLC; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; former U.S. Solicitor General
Burt Neuborne, Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties, NYU School of Law; Founding Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice
Cliff Sloan, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Sherrese M. Smith, Chief Counsel to Former Chairman Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission
Elizabeth B. Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
Among progressive scholars, there used to be consensus that the Second Amendment protected only a collective right of the states to maintain “a well-regulated Militia.” However, over the past 25 years, some progressive scholars have departed from this consensus, and some argue that this departure is partly responsible for the individual rights interpretation reflected in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. With the Supreme Court having weighed in, is the debate over the Second Amendment now over, and what are the varying progressive viewpoints? And with the national conversation focused on gun violence prevention, how does the current understanding of the Second Amendment limit the forms that such prevention can take? What should be the response to the wave of unprecedented mass shootings, like the one in Newtown, Connecticut, and to the increased gun violence in major cities?
Rebecca L. Brown, Newton Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Walter Dellinger, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP; former acting U.S. Solicitor General; Member, ACS Board of Advisors
Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law
Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School
Adam Winkler, Professor of Law, University of California Los Angeles School of Law
What role does government have in regulating, monitoring, and reviewing our online behavior, and what limits should be placed on the government and corporations and their ability to share the details of our private lives? With ECPA reform being assessed by Congress, true cyber security reform stalled, and with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) left intact by the Supreme Court in Clapper v. Amnesty International, the intersection of government, technology, the internet, and privacy is front and center in the national debate. What are the various constitutional and legislative considerations? What are the challenges to reform?
Susan Freiwald, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law
Jamil N. Jaffer, Republican Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO, National Constitution Center; Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
Peter Swire, C. William O’Neill Professor of Law and Judicial Administration, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Housing segregation persists today, with the rising income gap of the past few decades to blame. Of course, the millions of incidents of housing discrimination that occur annually cannot be overlooked. Contemporary housing crises, like unprecedented foreclosures and post-Katrina housing shortages, have also played a significant role. Because our access to education, health care, and other necessities are often determined by where we live, what legal and policy measures can be advanced to prevent the resegregation of America? With courts chipping away at organizational standing in several civil rights contexts, are the enforcement efforts of private fair housing organizations threatened? Given repeated efforts by the Supreme Court to consider disparate impact in the fair housing context—first with Magner v. Gallagher and now with Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc.—will disparate impact remain a viable tool to combat housing discrimination? What deference should be given to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulation affirming the disparate impact standard? How can we ensure that tools meant to increase housing opportunity and access, like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, are not being used to further discrimination?
Harvey Epstein, Associate Director, Urban Justice Center
Diane L. Houk, Of Counsel, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
Kim M. Keenan, General Counsel, NAACP
Shanna L. Smith, President/CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance
Jacob L. Vigdor, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Duke University
Principles of federalism partially define our constitutional structure and inform numerous ongoing national debates, including those on immigration, marriage equality, marijuana regulation, the proper scope of executive power, and health care reform. Members of a new generation of legal scholars will discuss what the law of federalism may look like five and ten years from now, highlighting developments in the courts, in state and federal legislatures, and at the grassroots level.
Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
P. (Deep) Gulasekaram, Associate Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law
Steve Sanders, Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Neil S. Siegel, David W. Ichel Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Program in Public Law, Duke University School of Law
Franita Tolson, Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights, Florida State University College of Law
Important new empirical research sponsored by ACS establishes a correlation between political contributions to state court judges and judicial decisions favoring business interests. The 2012 election cycle shows that corporate contributions to judicial candidates continue to grow, and partisanship in state court elections is accelerating. A panel of expert academics and judges will examine the scope of this problem and propose solutions. They will address the evidence marshaled in the ACS report, Justice at Risk? An Empirical Examination of Whether Campaign Contributions Influence State Court Decision-Making, that there is a significant statistical correlation between campaign contributions from business interests and pro-business judicial decisions. The panel also will address the following questions: Do increasingly expensive and partisan elections threaten the fairness and impartiality of the judiciary? Are certain methods of judicial selection better suited to address these problems than others? How can citizens take action to defend the fairness and impartiality of the judiciary?
Rachel Paine Caufield, Professor, Drake University
Justice Marilyn Kelly, Distinguished Jurist in Residence, Wayne State University
Law School; former Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
Jeremy Kidd, Assistant Professor of Law, Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law
Joanna Shepherd, Associate Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Justice David Wiggins, Iowa Supreme Court
Economic inequality has grown rapidly over the past few decades, with a disheartening decline in workforce stability. The workplace and its force as a channel for economic success is no longer a foregone conclusion for the worker. Organizing to fight income inequality has become increasingly difficult. Much of this dilemma can be traced to the hostile, coordinated legal and political opposition facing organized workers, collective action, and collective bargaining. Is collective action the most effective method of fighting income inequality? How can principles of freedom of assembly and freedom of association be used in new and creative ways to mobilize and organize workers? What novel tools can existing labor organizations and unions look to in their organizing campaigns? What are new and transformative forms of organizing that can fundamentally enhance collective action and reinvigorate the worker voice? What types of federal and state legislation could support these efforts, and is collective action the answer to fighting economic inequality?
Craig Becker, General Counsel, AFL-CIO
Stephen P. Berzon, Founding Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP
Katie Corrigan, Policy Director for the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University Law Center
Willis Goldsmith, Partner, Jones Day
Ann C. Hodges, Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
Mark Schneider, Counsel for Political Programs and Associate General Counsel, SEIU
The Court considered several class action cases this Term. Its docket included Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Comcast v. Behrend, Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, and American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant. Have the Court’s decisions in these cases been consistent with the precedents established in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion? Should employees, consumers, investors, and others be concerned that their ability to pursue class action litigation has been limited? Or, on the other hand, has the Court demonstrated through its decisions that such concerns are unwarranted? As the 2012-2013 Term comes to a close, this panel considered the current state of class action litigation and mandatory arbitration and explored the impact of Wal-Mart and AT&T in the lower courts.
John H. Beisner, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Arthur H. Bryant, Executive Director, Public Justice
Faith E. Gay, Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Suzette M. Malveaux, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America
Cyrus Mehri, Founding Partner, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC
Arthur R. Miller, University Professor, NYU School of Law
Andrew J. Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Christopher A. Seeger, Partner, Seeger Weiss LLP
Jonathan D. Selbin, Partner, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
John Vail, Vice President and Senior Litigation Counsel, Center for Constitutional Litigation
Barry A. Weprin, Partner, Milberg LLP
Saturday, June 15, Breakout Sessions:
This time around real, comprehensive immigration reform looks possible, including a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented individuals who live and work in the U.S. Will it include a temporary worker program? A path to citizenship for the undocumented youth known as “DREAMers”? A new employment verification system? What must be done legislatively and what can be accomplished administratively to reform our immigration system? This panel examined pending proposals from the legislative and executive branches, the opposition to them, and the possibility of legal challenges.
Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
David A. Martin, Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Director, Civic Engagement and Immigration, National Council of La Raza
Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute
Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Reporter, Pol itico
Texas most recently deviated from the traditional American rule that both parties pay for their own litigation costs in 2011 when it enacted legislation that allows prevailing parties to recover litigation expenses in cases deemed frivolous. Historically, in the United States, fee shifting has only been allowed in situations where litigation is encouraged as a matter of public policy, such as civil rights and consumer protection cases. While Alaska is the only other state that has a loser pays system, the concept has been championed by tort reformers, and publicly supported by several elected officials. The Supreme Court even weighed in, recently reaffirming the authority of district courts to shift costs under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in Marx v. General Revenue Corp. Do we have evidence that a loser pays system actually reduces litigation costs by encouraging parties to settle out of court? Does it do justice a disservice by discouraging plaintiffs from filing suit? Has there been innovation in litigation funding that provides individuals with incentives to bring their cases to court? Given the longstanding tradition that litigants pay their own costs, what is the justification for fee shifting in areas of the law where the public interest seeks to encourage litigation, like civil rights?
John R. Bowman, Director of Federal and State Relations, American Association for Justice
Judge Nancy Gertner, Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School; former Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Patti Goldman, Vice President for Litigation, Earthjustice
Adam T. Klein, Partner, Outten & Golden LLP
Harry P. Susman, Partner, Susman Godfrey LLP
The past two administrations, led by President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, have overseen responses to the largest domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history, the beginning and imminent end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the development of laws supporting non-Article III military commissions, the rise and dismantling of terrorist networks, and the evolution of various forms of warfare. There is much debate surrounding how these administrations may have differed or aligned in their interpretation of the Constitution when formulating national security policy in this area. How have the two administrations differed in their interpretation of executive power and effectuating policies to fight the war on terror? How has the Obama administration justified actions relating to the War Powers Act, military commissions, Authorization for Use of Military Force, and drone warfare? Finally, what is the progressive vision for national security policy, and how might that comport with and differ from this administration’s current policies?
John B. Bellinger, III , Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
David D. Cole, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union
Dawn Johnsen, Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Member, ACS Board of Directors
Martin S. Lederman, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
The United States incarcerates more than 2 million people, imprisoning more people than any other country in the world. This unprecedented prison population can be attributed to federal and state policies implemented over the past few decades, including mandatory minimums, three strikes, and life without parole. Our culture of incarceration is reflected in a variety of contexts, from the War on Drugs to the School to Prison Pipeline, where criminalization has prevailed over other approaches to social problems. Mass incarceration has had a disproportionate impact on people and communities of color, with African Americans and Latinos constituting approximately 60% of the prison population. What are the consequences of mass incarceration for our society? What policies and practices are driving these high levels of imprisonment? Are there constitutional tools at our disposal, like the pardon power and the Eighth Amendment, which can assist in ending the era of mass incarceration?
Judge Mark W. Bennett, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
Mark Osler, Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Matt Pillischer, Producer and Director, Broken On All Sides
Kemba Smith Pradia, Author, Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story; Founder, Kemba Smith Foundation
Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations and Open Society Policy Center
James E. Williams, Jr., Public Defender, Orange and Chatham Counties, North Carolina
David Carliner Public Interest Award and Richard D. Cudahy Award:
The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law Award and David Carliner Public Interest Award were given during the 2013 ACS National Convention. The Carliner Award was presented to Kara Hartzler, an appellate attorney at the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition which honors Judge Cudahy’s decades of distinguished service as one of the nation’s finest appellate judges went to Cary Adickman in the student category and Bruce Kraus, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, and Connor Raso, Attorney-Advisor, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the lawyer category.