September 25, 2020

ACS Los Angeles - Racial Justice and the Law Series: Panel 1 - Constitutional Precedent and Structural Racism

Join the ACS Los Angeles, Austin, Bay Area, Chicago, DC, and San Diego Lawyer Chapters for our first event in our Racial Justice and the Law series. This series seeks to uplift the research, scholarship, and work of BIPOC attorneys, advocates, and scholars from across the United States with legal expertise in civil rights, criminal justice, housing, education, the environment, and other areas. The series is intended for lawyers and the general public alike and designed to promote understanding of racial justice issues and systemic racism within the context of the law. We hope that all attendees will leave the event with a solid understanding of key reforms that can address inequities and systemic racism that exist within various areas of the law and the key ways to implement them.

This foundational first panel will ground the series within the context of the criminal punishment system. It will provide an overview of how our Constitution and judicial precedent deal with systemic racism; particularly the hidden regressive effect of the constitutional doctrine of discriminatory intent (Washington v. Davis (1976) 426 U.S. 229) and the judicial theory of disparate impact. This panel will also explore systemic racism within the context of policing and the criminal punishment system.


Tiffiny Townend Blacknell, Deputy Public Defender, Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office; Co-Chair of the Women's Defender Association; past-president of the Black Public Defenders' Association, and member of the board of directors of the Re-Entry Foundation

Fred Smith Jr., Associate Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law; Board member of Invest Atlanta; founding member of BeltLine Rail Now; and advisory board member of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project

Moderated by:

Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law; author of Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism and N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law