February 18, 2021

The American Constitution Society Celebrates 20 Years; Yearlong Program Will Focus on Race and the Constitution

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez, media@acslaw.org

Washington, D.C. – For two decades the American Constitution Society has been focused on ensuring the law is a force to improve people’s lives. Today, in conjunction with its 20th anniversary, ACS announced it will spend the next year hosting programs and fostering dialogue and debate around historic and persisting issues of systemic racism and the Constitution.

The announcement came during a retrospective, kickoff event that paid tribute to ACS founder, the Hon. Peter J. Rubin, and featured panels of judges, lawyers, law students, scholars, policymakers and activists from the ACS network examining how ACS has shaped debate, built a vibrant, nationwide network of student and lawyer chapters, and made a difference in legal and public policy debates. From its initial beginnings in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore (2000), ACS has grown into a leading progressive legal organization with more than 200 student and lawyer chapters across the nation.

“From its earliest days, the American Constitution Society has been dedicated to the law being a force for change and progress. In this, our 20th year, and at this moment in time, when our country is so divided and plagued by systemic and racial injustice, there could be no better time for us to reckon with our country’s troubling roots and its founding document, the Constitution,” said ACS President Russ Feingold.

ACS will begin this exploration March 2, with the first in a yearlong series of panels that will examine what constitutional, legal, and policy reforms are required to address the institutional racism that continues to infect the U.S.’s economic, legal, educational, and health systems and might lead toward a Third Reconstruction.

Future panels will focus on race and criminal justice, race and wellbeing (health and environmental justice) and race and opportunity (employment, education, and housing), and discussions on possible racial equity reforms..

“Many of our student members recently signed on to an open letter in which they acknowledged the broad failings of our Constitution in protecting liberty and justice for all—and dedicated their professional careers to a future of progressive, anti-racist, and inclusive constitutionalism,” Feingold said. “ACS invites our leaders, members and supporters to join us this year in examining our Constitution’s failings while also finding legal and policy solutions that can finally make the promises of our country’s founding document a reality for all Americans.”


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw