Voting Rights Institute to Train New Generation of Voting Rights Lawyers Expanding Nationally


The Campaign Legal Center announced today that the Voting Rights Institute will expand to New York, Ohio and Georgia in the coming months to train the next generation of Voting Rights lawyers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s highly-controversial Shelby County decision striking down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Practitioners and law students will learn the ‘ins and outs’ of voting rights enforcement in the wake of the Court’s ruling, particularly cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.  

The Voting Rights Institute was first held at American University’s Washington College of Law last June, the same week as the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby County case.  The first Institute to be held outside of Washington, DC will occur January 31st in New York.  The Legal Center and the American Constitution Society are co-sponsoring the Institute and will hold a half-day training program, taught by some of the most respected voting rights practitioners in the country, which will count toward Continuing Legal Education (CLE).  Additional half-day trainings in other cities are planned in 2014, with sessions already scheduled for February 21 in Columbus, Ohio, and on March 28  in Atlanta, Georgia. 

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the abuses of the voting rights of Americans have come in waves and have been startling in their audacity, making it very clear that the next generation of voting right lawyers must be trained to take up the mantle of leadership to preserve this precious democratic right,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of the Campaign Legal Center.  “The playing field has been drastically and unfairly tilted by the Supreme Court in favor of those who seek to control which citizens vote and which citizens do not vote, and trained voting right litigators are greatly needed.  The Voting Rights Institute is working to fill that vital need and will continue to do so going forward.”

Participants will learn from experts in the field who will provide background on the Voting Rights Act and relevant Supreme Court cases, and who will then teach participants the mechanics of voting rights litigation.    J. Gerald Hebert, the Legal Center’s Executive Director, will serve as the Institute’s lead instructor and he will be joined by seasoned voting rights litigators, appellate advocates, and scholars in the field.

In addition to Mr. Hebert, the Institute’s expert faculty at the New York City training will include: Juan Cartagena (President and General Counsel to LatinoJusticePRLDEF), Ryan Haygood (Director, Political Participation Group, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. [LDF]), Myrna Perez (Deputy Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice), Ezra Rosenberg (Partner, Dechert LLP) and Paul M. Smith (Partner, Jenner & Block) 

What:  NYC Voting Rights Institute Training
When:  Friday, January 31, breakfast available at 9 a.m.; training 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: New York Law School Auditorium, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013-2921
Who:   Any and all lawyers and law students with a commitment to and interest in protecting the right to vote
CLE:   3.5 New York CLE credit hours

Financial support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ( and the Wallace Global Fund for the Voting Rights Institute is gratefully acknowledged.  To arrange media coverage or to participate in this event, please contact Katie O’Connor, Assistant Director of Lawyer Chapters for the American Constitution Society, at [email protected] or at 202-741-0707.

To view the full agenda, click here.