Jarrett Adams Interview

Jarrett Adams is interviewed about the law, his involvement with ACS, and his advice to future lawyers at the 2015 ACS National Convention

Disparate Impact in the Crosshairs

As structural inequality persists and overt racial animus becomes rarer, the ability to attack policies that have a disproportionately adverse effect on racial and ethnic minorities is crucial. But while the disparate impact doctrine is vitally important for protecting equal opportunity, it is once again in the crosshairs. The Supreme Court has already rejected a private right of action to enforce the disparate impact standard under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and may do so this term under the Fair Housing Act in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. Conservatives have planned further attacks on disparate impact in other contexts, including employment and voting. How have advocates used the disparate impact standard to confront contemporary racial inequality, and how have litigators adapted to Supreme Court decisions limiting the availability of the disparate impact standard? 
  • Hon. Theodore McKee, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • William Consovoy, Partner, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC
  • Elizabeth Julian, President, Inclusive Communities Project
  • Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Neil S. Siegel, David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Program in Public Law, and Director of the D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy, Duke Law School

2015 National Convention - Student Chapter Awards

Awards for the Constance Baker Motley Writing Competition, ACS Student Chapters Awards, Reproductive Justice Award, and Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law are handed out at the 2015 ACS National Convention.

The Dangers of Injecting Secrecy into the Death Penalty

The Supreme Court has responded to Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett by agreeing to hear the first lethal injection case since 2008's Baze v. Rees, which held Kentucky's lethal injection protocol constitutional. Since Baze, makers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs have increasingly refused to sell their products to death penalty states, forcing the few states that actively seek to execute death row inmates to adopted untested lethal injection protocols. These states have also developed a new tool to ward off legal challenges: secrecy laws barring access to information about lethal injection drug sources or protocols. Are critics right that these laws violate the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments by curtailing the media's access to information, forcing corrections staff to inflict pain on inmates, and violating the due process rights of the executed? Is the use of untested lethal injection protocols constitutional? How do these debates more generally reflect the continued viability of capital punishment in the United States? 
  • Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Correspondent, The New York Times
  • Mark Earley, Founder and Principal, Earley Legal Group; Member, Death Penalty Committee, The Constitution Project
  • Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Megan McCracken, Eighth Amendment Resource Counsel, Death Penalty Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Katie Townsend, Litigation Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Skewed Justice: How Money in Judicial Elections is Undermining our Criminal Justice System

A recent ACS report, Skewed Justice, found that the current explosion in spending on television attack ads in state supreme court elections has made courts less likely to rule in favor of defendants in criminal appeals. This influx of money to judicial elections - due in large part the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United - means that judges are under increasing pressure to act like politicians by avoiding damaging attack ads and burnishing their "tough on crime" bona fides at the expense of real people facing criminal prosecution. Coupled with structural inequities that critics claim make it difficult for defendants to obtain real justice, does money in judicial elections threaten the legitimacy of our criminal justice system? What doe the experiences of judges teach us about how to maintain an independent judiciary in the face of these pressures? What role can those who represent the criminally accused play in protecting a criminal defendant's due process rights to an impartial judge?


  • Erica Hashimoto, Allen Post Professor of Law and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Hon. Sue Bell Cobb, Former Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court
  • Tracey George, Professor of Law and Political Science, Vanderbilt University
  • David Kopel, Research Director, Independence Institute; Associate Policy Analyst, Cato Institute; Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations

The Digital Age on the Global Stage: Can the Law Keep Up?

The rapid development of technological innovation continually raises challenging questions for our legal system and policymakers as they seek to regulate actors and actions at the international level.Increasingly, the United States and our allies are at odds, imposing different legal standards across the Internet. What laws and treaties can effectuate law enforcement goals while maintaining various nations' civil liberties regimes in an age of transnational crime and terrorism? What standards should be met for U.S. law enforcement to access information stored in extraterritorial data centers? How can divergent free speech principles in Europe and the U..S. be successfully navigated with regard to hate speech on the Internet? Can European protection of the "right to privacy" and the "right to be forgotten" comport with American standards of free speech? 
  • Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO, National Constitution Center
  • Anupam Chander, Director, California International Law Center; Professor of Law, University of California, Davis
  • Mieke Eoyang, Director, National Security Program, Third Way
  • Orin Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson ,Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Greg Nojeim, Director, Freedom, Security and Technology Project, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Kate Westmoreland, Non-Residential Fellow, Stanford Center for Internet and Society