American Constitution Society

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American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Mission

The American Constitution Society believes that law should be a force to improve the lives of all people. ACS works for positive change by shaping debate on vitally important legal and constitutional issues through development and promotion of high-impact ideas to opinion leaders and the media; by building networks of lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers dedicated to those ideas; and by countering the activist conservative legal movement that has sought to erode our enduring constitutional values. By bringing together powerful, relevant ideas and passionate, talented people, ACS makes a difference in the constitutional, legal and public policy debates that shape our democracy.

The American Constitution Society brings together many of the country’s best legal minds to articulate a progressive vision of our Constitution and laws. Through its public programs (over 1,100 debates, conferences and press briefings across America each year), publications, and active on-line presence, ACS generates “intellectual capital” for ready use by progressive allies and shapes debates on key legal and public policy issues.

The American Constitution Society is also debunking conservative buzzwords such as “originalism” and “strict construction” that use neutral-sounding language but all too often lead to conservative policy outcomes. Using both traditional and new media to communicate with policymakers, judges, lawyers and the public at large, ACS presents a compelling vision of core constitutional values such as genuine equality, liberty, justice and the rule of law.

One of the American Constitution Society’s principal missions is nurturing the next generation of progressive lawyers, judges, policy experts, legislators and academics.

The engine that drives the organization’s work is its rapidly growing nationwide network: 182 student chapters in law schools in 47 states, 32 lawyer chapters in large and small cities in every part of the country, and over 16,000 paying members and thousands of other supporters. ACS chapters offer platforms for debate and discussion about both enduring principles and the issues of the day, as well as provide opportunities for networking, mentoring and organizing around matters of both local and national significance.

The strength of ACS’s ideas and the scope of its nationwide network enable it to make a difference in legal and public policy debates and ensure that law is a force to improve the lives of all people. Recent examples of ACS initiatives and programs having an impact include an Issue Brief on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the health care reform legislation, cited during the Senate floor debate and entered into the Congressional Record; Senator Al Franken’s 2010 ACS National Convention speech in which he stated that “Originalism isn’t a pillar of our constitutional history; it’s a talking point;” and a concerted effort by ACS members to promote up-or-down votes on judicial nominations by engaging key decision makers.

In the words of Judge Abner Mikva, former Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, former Congressman from Illinois and member of ACS’s Board of Directors:[1]

ACS’s goals are ambitious but attainable. Those who would despair of our success need only think of the small band of legal conservatives of twenty-five years ago – their ideas then scorned by academics, ignored by judges and unknown to the public – who persevered to build a powerful movement and reshape our world according to their notions. If you seek their works, look around you. Our work is just beginning. Don’t just stand there – join us.

Board of Directors

As of 2011;[2]

Board of Advisors

As of 2011;[3]

Staff

As of 2011;[4]

Department of Policy Development and Programming

Department of Network Advancement

Department of Public Education and Outreach

Development

Administration

10th Anniversary Convention

The American Constitution Society 10th Anniversary Convention, was held at the Capitol Hilton, Washington DC, June 16-18, 2011.

Format

Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address at the opening Gala Dinner during the ACS 10th Anniversary National Convention. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Md.-4th), and Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, were also featured speakers at this year's convention.

The ACS National Convention brought together more than a thousand of the nation's top lawyers, judges, law students, policymakers, scholars and activists to learn, debate and strategize. The 2011 National Convention provided participants with the opportunity to engage with exciting speakers, participate in rigorous debate and discussion of critical legal and public policy issues, visit with their members of Congress, network with lawyers and companies from around the country, and contribute to the development of a progressive vision of the Constitution, the law and public policy.

In addition to the opening gala dinner, featuring Attorney General Eric Holder, the Convention included engaging panel discussions and plenary sessions offering continuing legal education credit. The Convention formally concluded with a Saturday luncheon. Later that day, there will be an ACS Student Chapter Retreat, followed by intimate mentor dinners with prominent Washington lawyers.

10th Anniversary Host Committee

Co-Chairs

Members

Christine Azar, Wilmington, DE; Daniel Bromberg, Redwood Shores, CA; Darren Check, Radnor, PA; Jeffrey Clements, Boston, MA; Roxanne Conlin, Des Moines, IA; David Dreyer, Atlanta, GA; Jerry Evans, Mt. Pleasant, SC; Holly Fechner, Washington, DC; Ronald Feldman, New York, NY; Steven Fineman, New York, NY; Alec French, Chevy Chase, MD; Amy Gardner, Chicago, IL; David Gossett, Washington, DC; Marla Grossman, Washington, DC; Barbara Hart, White Plains, NY; Denis Hayes, Seattle, WA; Robert Helman, Chicago, IL; Paul Hoffman, Los Angeles, CA; Frank Housh, Buffalo, NY; Margaret Hu, Durham, NC; Wendy Kaminer, Boston, MA; Craig Kaplan, New York, NY; Woody Kaplan, Cambridge, MA; Christopher Keller, New York, NY; Adam Klein, New York, NY, Victor Kovner, New York, NY; Sarah Kovner, New York, NY; Sanford Levinson, Austin, TX; Lino Lipinski, Denver, CO; Jack Londen, Tokyo, Japan; Brian Maloney, Baltimore, MD; Edward McNicholas, Washington, DC; Doug McSwain, Lexington, KY; Cyrus Mehri, Washington, DC; Michael Meuti, Cleveland, OH; Tiffany Mok, Sacramento, CA; Colin Parent, San Diego, CA; Meghan Paulas, Chicago, IL; Eric Perkins, Ridgewood, NJ; Llewelyn G. Pritchard, Seattle, WA; Teresa Wynn Roseborough, New York, NY; Dan Roth, San Francisco, CA; Stephen Ruckman, Baltimore, MD; Andrew Schwaba, Charlotte, NC; Marc Seltzer, Los Angeles, CA; Franklin Schoichet, Seattle, WA; Claire Silberman, New York, NY; Charles Smith, Chicago, IL; Stephen L. Tatum, Fort Worth, TX; Mark Tushnet, Cambridge, MA; Robert H. Wagstaff, Anchorage, AK; Theodore Wells, New York, NY; Barry Weprin, New York, NY; Sarah Wilson, Washington, DC; Adam Winkler, Los Angeles, CA[5]

10th Anniversary Honorary Host Committee, 2011

Co-Chairs

Members

Representative Joe Baca, Representative Howard Berman, Governor Steven Beshear, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Ms. Brooksley Born, The Honorable Bobbe Bridge, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Benjamin Cardin, Representative Russ Carnahan, Representative Andre Carson, Representative Judy Chu, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, The Honorable U.W. Clemon, Representative James E. Clyburn, Representative Steve Cohen, Senator Christopher Coons, Representative Danny Davis, Mr. Walter Dellinger, Representative John Dingell, Representative Lloyd Doggett, The Honorable Jean Dubofsky, Governor Michael Dukakis, Representative Donna Edwards, Representative Chaka Fattah, Senator Russ Feingold, Representative Barney Frank, Senator Al Franken, The Honorable Janine Geske, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Christine Gregoire, Representative Raul Grijalva, Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Michael Honda, The Honorable Shirley M. Hufstedler, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Representative Hank Johnson, The Honorable Nathaniel Jones, Senator John Kerry, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Carl Levin, Representative John Lewis, Representative Gregory Meeks, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Representative Gwen Moore, Representative James Moran, The Honorable William Norris, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Representative Ed Pastor, Governor Deval Patrick, Representative Donald Payne, Representative Pedro Pierluisi, Representative Bobby Rush, Representative Linda Sanchez, Representative Bobby Scott, Representative Jose Serrano, Representative Louise Slaughter, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Representative Edolphus Towns, Professor Laurence H. Tribe, Representative Christopher Van Hollen, The Honorable Pat Wald, Representative Maxine Waters, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.[6]

Convention underwriters

Convention partners

Convention benefactors

Patrons

References