Georgetown Law Becomes Permanent Home of Voting Rights Institute, Partnering with Campaign Legal Center & American Constitution Society



Today at noon at the National Press Club, the Campaign Legal Center, the American Constitution Society (ACS), and Georgetown Law will formally launch the Voting Rights Institute (VRI) at Georgetown Law.  The Institute has held training sessions across the country since 2013 to help meet the critical need for a new generation of voting rights lawyers, experts, and community activists.  The trainings were originally launched in the lead-up to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which nullified a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“We wanted to establish a Voting Rights Institute devoted to one of the most important issues of our time, voting rights for all Americans,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of the Campaign Legal Center.  “Georgetown University Law Center was the perfect location for the Institute because it possesses a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence and is a place where we can focus nonpartisan analysis and constructive engagement on the right to vote, while training the next generation of lawyers and leaders.”

Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis will deliver remarks on the historic occasion, as will Dean William M. Treanor of Georgetown Law, Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society, and Gerry Hebert, Executive Director of the Campaign Legal Center.

The Voting Rights Institute at Georgetown Law offers opportunities for students, recent graduates and fellows to engage in voting rights work, including active litigation, and will train the next generation of attorneys and expert witnesses in the field of voting rights.  The VRI will also maintain a website with information about voting rights matters available to the general public and a legal resources library for voting rights litigators and expert witnesses.  The VRI will also promote increased local and national focus on voting rights through events, publications and the development of web-based tools; and provide opportunities and platforms for research and data base analysis of voting rights issues.

Voting Rights Institute training sessions held across the country since 2013 have instructed practitioners and law students on the ‘ins and outs’ of protecting the right to vote through the enforcement of voting rights laws.  Cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution have been a particular focus of the trainings.  Each session has featured a panel of instructors with decades of experience in the field of voting rights.

The first students in the Voting Rights Institute are currently enrolled in Georgetown Law’s Institute of Public Representation (IPR) and are working on several cases identified by the Campaign Legal Center and the American Constitution Society.  The Institute has hired a clinical fellow to supervise students working on these cases and to manage legal matters within the Institute with a particular focus on voting rights issues.  A legal fellow will also assist in developing training materials for voting rights lawyers and leaders, overseeing use of the Voting Rights Institute website, and identifying appropriate voting rights cases for the clinic.

To date, over 400 attendees representing a diverse group of attorneys, law students and voting rights advocates have taken part in these activities.  Georgetown Law will provide a venue for future training institutes, and already hosted its first on Friday, September 25.

For more information on today’s event or to RSVP, click here.