April 18, 2023

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, Central Time

ACS Minneapolis-St. Paul: Fourth Annual Justice David Lillehaug Award for Distinguished Leadership Ceremony: A Conversation with Professor Mark Osler and Justice David Lillehaug

University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis, MN

Please join the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of the American Constitution Society at our Fourth Annual Justice David Lillehaug Award for Distinguished Leadership Ceremony, where we honor a leader in the local progressive legal community who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing a vision of the Constitution and law that enhances individual rights and liberties, and promotes genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law.

We congratulate this year’s recipient, Mark Osler, Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. His work advocates for sentencing and clemency policies rooted in principles of human dignity. In 2016 and 2019 he was named "Outstanding Professor" at his school.

Osler's recent writing on clemency, sentencing, and narcotics policy has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the Washington Post, and in law journals at Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, Georgetown, Rutgers, William and Mary, and the University of Chicago. His University of Chicago Law Review article (with Rachel Barkow) was highlighted in a lead editorial in the New York Times.

A former federal prosecutor, he played a role in striking down the mandatory 100-to-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine in the federal sentencing guidelines by winning the case of Spears v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has testified as an expert at the White House and before the United States Sentencing Commission and the United States House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Osler's 2009 book Jesus on Death Row (Abingdon Press) critiqued the American death penalty through the lens of Jesus's trial, and led to an improvised performance of that trial that has been conducted in 11 states, with Osler serving as the prosecutor. He serves as the head of the association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and held the Byrd Preaching Chair at St. Martin's-by-the-Lake Episcopal Church in 2012. He has given sermons in five states and for three different denominations. In 2011, he founded the first law school clinic specializing in federal commutations, and co-founded the Clemency Resource Center at NYU.

The character of Professor Joe Fisher in the Samuel Goldwyn film American Violet was based on Osler, and has been the subject of profiles in Rolling Stone and The American Prospect.