Join us for the premier progressive legal gathering of the year, June 6-8 in Atlanta, GA. The ACS National Convention brings together lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, activists, and policymakers to examine some of the most urgent and challenging issues confronting our nation.

National Convention
Thursday, June 6 - Saturday, June 8
Westin Peachtree Plaza
210 Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA

Hotel Information

Westin Peachtree Plaza
210 Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA

Book your hotel room at the Westin Peachtree Plaza »

Stay tuned for more information about panels, speakers, and schedule.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Opening Plenary – 9:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Engaging Progressives in the South

The latter half of the twentieth century saw a regional political realignment that resulted in the emergence of the now well-trod red state/blue sta\te narrative and the conventional wisdom that southern, exurban, and rural America are monolithically conservative. But this narrative is being successfully challenged by the election of officeholders in historically conservative states and localities, including in the South, who are pursuing progressive laws and policies with the support of their constituents. What challenges do progressive public officeholders at the local, state, and federal level face, and what opportunities can they leverage to protect reproductive, LGBTQ+, labor, and voting rights and pursue racial justice and criminal legal reform?

Breakout 1 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Body Politics

Conservative controlled states have expended extraordinary time and attention restricting bodily autonomy for residents from historically vulnerable and marginalized groups. States are criminalizing those seeking and providing gender-affirming and reproductive healthcare, restricting the availability of resources in-state, and, in some cases, attempting to restrict travel for residents seeking to access resources in other states. Organizers and litigators are working tirelessly to preserve or restore access to healthcare in statehouses and federal and state courthouses throughout the country. What can the successes and setbacks these advocates have encountered teach us about effective strategies to engage in intersectional work to protect the availability of necessary, oftentimes lifesaving healthcare?

Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation: Lessons and Momentum from the Reparations Movement

In the past few years, the movement for reparations for Black Americans has seen unprecedented energy and momentum. Reparations is now a recurring topic of debate on the national stage, and localities and states have begun earnest efforts to assess and atone for past harm. At the same time, increasingly mobilized opposition forces are eager to magnify challenges and obstacles to derail the movement. Every government to consider reparations does so amid great public pressure and scrutiny. This panel unites activists and policymakers from states and localities across the U.S. who have worked in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation movement to share learnings and paths forward.

The Necessary Labor for Democracy’s Survival

Organized labor’s role in improving workers’ wages, benefits, and working conditions is well known. But the labor movement’s importance extends beyond the workplace, playing a pivotal role in the very health of our democracy. Labor unions foster community, provide workers opportunities to practice their civic skills, and increase workers’ resistance to authoritarian appeals. Consequently, attacks on labor not only threaten fairness within the workplace, but fairness within the institutions of our government. How has the anti-labor movement affected American democracy? How might progressive lawyers use this period of renewed focus on labor and the value of unions to reinvigorate workers’ rights and, ultimately, to safeguard our democracy?

Breakout 2 – 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Race, Gender, and the Right to Bear Arms

Debates over the Second Amendment and “gun rights” often center the perspectives and experiences of white male gun owners. Although men of color are half as likely to own guns as white men, they are 2 to 12 times more likely to die of gun violence and overwhelmingly bear the brunt of laws criminalizing gun possession. Meanwhile, American women face higher rates of lethal gun violence than women in any other high-income country, with Black women six times as likely to be killed as white women.

Now, less than two years after its landmark Second Amendment decision in Bruen began requiring courts to consider only “history and tradition” when evaluating gun regulations, the Supreme Court weighs overturning a federal law that disarms people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. How should the Court grapple with the racism and misogyny that infects so much of this nation’s histories and traditions? And how can elevating the perspectives, experiences, and wisdom of women and people of color chart a more responsive, intersectional path forward on gun violence prevention?

The All-Out Assault on Agency Authority

For decades, antiregulatory forces, led by the conservative legal movement and profit-motivated business interests, have been waging an attack on the administrative state. Their efforts have recently been gaining traction. Two years ago, in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court announced the new major questions doctrine, which critics argue is a powerful de-regulatory tool. This term, the Court is considering a series of cases that attack agency authority on a variety of fronts, including efforts to overturn the forty-year-old Chevron doctrine, declare the Securities and Exchange Commission’s administrative enforcement scheme unconstitutional, strike down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding mechanism, and allow newly formed entities to bring facial challenges to decades-old regulations. How should we understand this antagonism toward agency authority, and how can we protect effective governance?

A First Amendment Right to Troll?

This Supreme Court term could redefine the legal boundaries of online speech among and between Americans and their elected representatives. In a case that could limit constituents’ ability to weigh in on issues important to them—from the most parochial school board decisions to major federal policy—the Court has been asked to determine whether a public official violates the First Amendment by blocking an individual on the official’s personal social media account. The Court will also resolve a circuit split regarding controversial anti-content moderation laws passed in Florida and Texas, filling the vacuum created by prolonged congressional inaction on platform regulation and content moderation. What are the legal and policy implications of the public square and marketplace of ideas migrating to the internet and social media platforms? How can we protect political speech online while building a truly multiracial democracy?

Closing Plenary – 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Democracy, No Matter the Zip Code

Despite a few recent wins that preserve what is left of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court and many federal appellate courts remain hostile to one of the landmark legislative achievements of the Civil Rights Era. Conservative dominated courts routinely shut the courthouse doors to voters seeking to vindicate their rights. Conservative state legislatures, often gerrymandered into entrenched power, continue a campaign of open hostility toward voters in marginalized communities.  How can progressives work in conservative areas to expand access to the ballot box? Should advocates focus on state constitutional protections? What about states in which such protections don’t exist? In the run-up to the 2024 election, what can be done at the local and state level to combat the growing threat of election denialism?

Sponsorship

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Learn more »

Stay tuned for more information about this year’s sponsors.

Scholarships

Scholarships will be granted on a rolling basis, so apply now »

To help make ACS Conventions accessible to law students, ACS has limited needs-based convention scholarships to help offset the costs of attendance for qualified applicants. Scholarship packages are based on the information you provide in your application; therefore, please fill out this form completely and accurately. Scholarships will be awarded on a rolling basis. We encourage you to apply early and share this information with your membership.

These needs-based scholarships should defray your costs of attending Convention but are not intended to cover the entire cost of your trip. Please also reach out to your law school (Dean of Students, Student Services, etc.) for funding to attend Convention— Many law schools have funding to help support students attending conferences. Don’t forget to note the great networking opportunities available to students at Convention (Networking Dinners, Coffee Matches, Receptions, etc.).

TYPES OF SCHOLARSHIP

  1. Travel Scholarships (to help cover airfare, train, or mileage). Those awarded a travel scholarship must book their own travel and will be reimbursed after the Convention up to their awarded amount upon submitting appropriate receipts in a timely manner.
  2. Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel Scholarships (to provided limited shared hotel rooms at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, GA). For hotel scholarships, students awarded a Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel Scholarship will receive a shared hotel room at the Westin Peachtree Plaza with another award recipient. ACS will book the room reservation and handle room payment (excluding incidentals).
  3. Registration Scholarships (to help cover the costs of registration).  For registration scholarships, scholarship recipients will receive Convention registration instructions within their award email.

Please note that ACS Scholarships will NOT cover the following:

  • Transportation (rail, Lyft, Uber, Taxi, etc.) to and from the airport
  • Meals (Convention attendees will be provided meals throughout Convention. See the Convention agenda for more details).

All scholarship recipients MUST attend the entire Convention and perform approximately four hours of service during the Convention to qualify for their award. The exact time and task(s) for volunteering will be designated by ACS staff closer to the time of Convention.

SCHOLARSHIP REQUIREMENTS
Application requirements for an ACS Convention Scholarship are as follows:

  1. All applicants MUST be law school students graduating in either 2024, 2025, 2026, or beyond.
  2. All applicants MUST be current dues-paying members of ACS National. Upon reviewing your application, if you are not an ACS Member, you will receive an email prompting you to become an ACS Member in order to proceed with the application process. You can become a member here for $25.
  3. All applicants MUST attend ALL portions of the Convention. Students attending National Convention should plan to arrive at the Westin Peachtree Plaza by 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6; and depart the Westin Peachtree Plaza at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.