May 29, 2020

May 2020: Harsh Voruganti

Harsh Voruganti, President, ACS Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter

Harsh Voruganti (he/him)
President, ACS Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter

The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.  I don’t remember when I first heard those words, but I remember when they became ingrained in my head: as I underwent the naturalization process to become an American.  On that day in 2008, as I took the oath to become an American citizen, an 84-year-old grandfather to my left, the impact of the law really hit me.  Namely, I wouldn’t be standing there if the Hart-Celler Act of 1965 hadn’t reversed race-based restrictions on naturalization.  Even more generally, I wouldn’t be standing there if civil rights activists, protected by the First Amendment, hadn’t rallied and fought and starved to create a more equal society.  I certainly wouldn’t have been standing there without the right to speak, to think, and to worship in accordance with my beliefs, all protected by the U.S. Constitution.  As I swore my oath that day, I knew that I needed to do my part to preserve the law for future generations. I knew that I needed to go to law school.

Since I started at the George Washington University Law School in 2009, I’ve had a lot of different positions in the legal field.  From my first legal internship at the National Whistleblower Center to my current role as a state prosecutor, I’ve explored the gamut of the law.  And yet, through all of it, my most consistent affiliation has been with ACS.

I first learned about ACS before law school, when I was seeking a liberal alternative to the Federalist Society.  A quick Wikipedia search led me to ACS, and I resolved myself to immediately join the ACS Chapter once I started law school.  Sure enough, arriving at GW Law for orientation, I made my way to the ACS Chapter table.  Three years later, I was graduating law school having led the Chapter as President.  Not content to leave, I promptly joined the Board of the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter.  Today, eight years later, I’m still on the Board, this time, as the President.

My interest in ACS is largely a function of two factors: the work; and the people.  It’s hard to undersell the programming and commitment put on by ACS National, as well as chapters across the country.  Take, for example, our Constitution in the Classroom program (“CITC”).  Each spring and fall, hundreds of lawyers across the country meet with students in the public school system to talk about the Constitution.  After all, no government can thrive without having a well-educated and civic-minded citizenry.  Additionally, each passing year of ACS membership draws you closer to fellow members and supporters, with annual Conventions becoming family get-togethers, a chance to cheer each other on as we seek to change the world for the better.

For my part, I remind myself that it all comes back down to the rule of law.  As I write, as I blog, as I tweet, as I worship, as I teach, and as I petition, I recognize that these rights, alongside my presence in the country, are possible only because of the Constitution and the rule of law.  As the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it is incumbent on all of us to preserve and uphold it.  I’m thrilled to be part of an organization that recognizes this challenge.

Harsh Voruganti is an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney with the City of Alexandria. He previously practiced criminal defense and civil rights law in private practice at the Voruganti Law Firm, PLLC., worked on minority religious rights at the Hindu American Foundation, and litigated as a Fellow at the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.  Harsh also blogs on judicial nominations at The Vetting Room and tweets at @VettingRoom.  

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