Voting Rights Institute Wraps a Week of Practical Voting Rights Litigation Instruction Led by Field Experts

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Voters wait in line to cast their ballots.

Last week, the Campaign Legal Center and American University’s Washington College of Law wrapped up the first annual Voting Rights Law Institute.  The four-night Institute afforded law students and practitioners training on enforcement of voting rights law, particularly cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Unless Congress acts quickly to revise the coverage formula under Section 4, Section 2 cases will be the primary means of enforcing the Voting Rights Act after the controversial decision issued last week by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, struck down the Act’s coverage formula thus eliminating Section 5 cases.

This workshop was led by some of the field’s most experienced and respected experts including:  Gilda R. Daniels (Associate Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law), Armand Derfner (Attorney, Derfner, Altman & Wilborn), Chad W. Dunn (Partner, Brazil & Dunn), Allan J. Lichtman (Distinguished Professor of History at American University), Nina Perales (Director of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund [MALDEF]), David Richards (Attorney, Richards, Rodriguez & Skeith), Paul M. Smith (Attorney, Jenner & Block), Bruce V. Spiva (Founding Partner, The Spiva Law Firm) and Brenda Wright (Vice President of Legal Strategies, Demos).  The Campaign Legal Center’s own executive director, J. Gerald Hebert, served as the Institute’s lead instructor.

The Campaign Legal Center would like to thank all of the speakers who shared their time and expertise with attendees of the Voting Rights Institute.  We are especially grateful to Stephen Wermiel (Associate Director of the Summer Institute on Law and Government) at American University’s Washington College of Law for co-hosting this year’s Voting Rights Institute, and to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for its financial support that made the Voting Rights Institute possible.

Finally, we thank all the lawyers and law students who registered and attended the conference.  We hope that you put into action the lessons learned and lead the next generation of voting rights litigators.  The Campaign Legal Center Web site, blog, Twitter and Facebook entries will continue to provide information that you can use in your legal practice.