2013 ACS Highlights

Dear Friends,
Welcome to our 2013 Highlights page!  Below, you will find a compilation of the Issue Briefs, programs, and other articles in the issue areas that have driven our work over the past year, along with examples of the national discussion our work has inspired.  Please use the index to jump to your preferred topics, or simply begin browsing.
To learn more about any of the materials below or any of our other programming, we encourage you to explore the rest of our website, or reach out to us directly.  Please also consider adding us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and update your electronic contact information at www.acslaw.org/email-preferences to ensure that you receive the latest news and announcements that matter most to you.
Every item featured on this page – to say nothing of ACS itself – would not exist without your generous support and involvement.  I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2014.
With thanks,
Caroline Fredrickson
President, American Constitution Society


Click a link,

The Issues

jump to a topic.

Campaign Finance
  The Environment
The Network Immigration
National Convention 2013 Indigent Defense
Student Convention 2013 LGBT Community
  National Security
  Voting Rights
The Conversation Why Courts Matter
Press Clips Workers' Rights
  More to Explore



The Network

2013 ACS National Convention

Convention Program

Keynote speakers at the 2013 ACS National Convention:


2013 ACS Student Convention

Convention Program

VIDEO: Keynote Dinner featuring Stephen Bright
Introduction: Judge Robert Pratt, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
Opening remarks: Sarah Knight, Vice President of Network Advancement, American Constitution Society

VIDEO: "Gideon at 50: The Future of Indigent Representation"

  • Chief Justice Michael Cherry, Nevada Supreme Court (moderator)
  • Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of San Francisco
  • James Brosnahan, Senior Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Elisabeth Semel, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Death Penalty Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Sejal Zota, Staff Attorney, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild

VIDEO: "A Conversation with Federal Judges"

  • Fred Smith, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law (moderator)
  • Judge Marsha S. Berzon, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Judge Ann Aiken, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Judge Edward Chen, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Judge Lucy Koh, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California


The Issues

Campaign Finance

REPORTJustice at Risk: An Empirical Analysis of Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decisions
Joanna Shepherd, Professor of Law, Emory University

BRIEF: "The FEC -- The Failure to Enforce Commission"
Fred Wertheimer, Founder and President, Democracy 21
Don Simon, Counsel, Democracy 21


Criminal Justice and Drug Reform

BRIEF: "Reinvigorating the Federal Pardon Process: What the President Can Learn from the States"
Margaret Colgate Love, Attorney, Law Office of Margaret Love; Former U.S. Pardon Attorney


The Environment

BRIEF: "Environmental Law after Sebelius: Will the Court's New Spending Power Limits Affect Environmental State-Federal Partnerships?"
Erin Ryan, Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark College

BRIEF: "Toward a Sustainable Future: An Environmental Agenda for the Second Term of the Obama Administration"
David Uhlmann, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School



BRIEF: "What Process is Due?: A Return to Core Constitutional Principles in Immigration Reform"
Aarti Kohli, Former Director of Immigration Policy, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute, University of California, Berkeley School of Law


Indigent Defense

BRIEF: "Assessing the Indigent Defense System"
Erica J. Hashimoto, Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

NEWSThe Huffington Post, "Failing the Sixth Amendment's Promise of Right to Counsel"
Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society

VIDEOHighlights from the 2013 ACS Student Convention


LGBT Community

VIDEONew York Constitution Day Luncheon 2013 
Edith Windsor, Petitioner, United States v. Windsor
Pamela S. Karlan, Co-Counsel, United States v. Windsor; Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Roberta A. Kaplan, Supreme Court Counsel of Record, United States v. Windsor; Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

BRIEF: "WindsorShelby County, and the Demise of Originalism: A Personal Account"
Dawn Johnsen, Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


National Security

BRIEF: "Homeland Security and the Post-9/11 Era"
P.J. Crowley, Fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, The George Washington University

NEWSThe Boston Globe, "Calls grow to revamp antiterror statute"


Voting Rights

BRIEF: "The Voting Rights Act Is in Jeopardy, But It Shouldn't Be: A Close Look at Shelby County v. Holder"
David H. Gans, Director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights and Citizenship Program, Constitutional Accountability Center
Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center

VIDEO: Rep. John Lewis at the 2013 ACS National Convention

VIDEO: "A Look at Shelby County: The Future of the Voting Rights Act"
Introduction: Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society
Opening remarks: Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.)

  • Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations (moderator)
  • Armand Derfner, Partner, Derfner Altman & Wilborn
  • Ryan Haygood, Director, Political Participation Group, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center


Why Courts Matter

BRIEF: "The Behavior of Supreme Court Justices When Their Behavior Counts the Most"
Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, The University of Chicago

BRIEF: "Revisiting Judicial Activism: The Right and Wrong Kinds"
Alan B. Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service, The George Washington University Law School

BRIEF: "Is Our Dysfunctional Process for Filling Judicial Vacancies an Insoluble Problem?"
Russell Wheeler, Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution; President, The Governance Institute

NEWS: The Washington Post, "Senate must act on appeals court vacancies"
Chief Judge Patricia M. Wald (Ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

VIDEO: "2013-2014 Supreme Court Preview"
Introduction: Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society

  • Pamela Harris, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center (moderator)
  • Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center; Director, Georgetown Center for the Constitution
  • Joshua Civin, Counsel to the Director of Litigation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Andrew Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP; Co-Founder and Co-Director, Yale Law School Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic
  • David Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School; Editor, Supreme Court Review


Workers' Rights

BRIEF: "We Are in This Together: The Rule of Law, The Commerce Clause, and the Enhancement of Liberty through Mutual Aid"
Anne Marie Lofaso, Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Development and Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law

BRIEF: "Defending Twentieth-Century Equal Employment Reforms in the Twenty-First Century"
Ellen Eardley, Associate, Mehri & Skalet PLLC; Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, American University Washington College of Law
Cyrus Mehri, Founding Partner, Mehri & Skalet PLLC

BLOG: Post-workers' rights convening


More to Explore

BRIEFSToward a More Perfect Union: A Progressive Blueprint for the Second Term 

LETTER: Constitutional Scholars on Gun Violence Prevention

BLOG: "In the Face of Inequality, An Urgent Optimism"
Nicandro Iannacci, Communications Fellow, American Constitution Society


The Conversation

Press Clips

The Atlantic, "An Elected Judge Speaks Out Against Judicial Elections" (September 3, 2013)
The Washington Post, "When businesses give judges money, they usually get the rulings they want" (June 11, 2013)
McClatchy, "Business donations to judges' campaigns often equal friendly rulings" (June 11, 2013)

The Boston Globe, "As Obama, Senate collide, courts caught short" (March 10, 2013)

MSNBC.com, "Judge allows anti-Obamacare suit to proceed" (October 22, 2013)
Melissa Harris-Perry, "This Week in Voter Suppression" (June 29, 2013)
PBS NewsHour, "Obama Moves to Fill U.S. Court of Appeals Seats, Setting Stage for Confrontation" (June 4, 2013)
Melissa Harris-Perry, "The Obama Court" (June 2, 2013)