American Constitution Society

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is a progressive legal organization. The group's stated mission is to "promote the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental values it expresses: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law."[2]

ACS was created as a counterweight to, and is modeled after, the Federalist Society, and is often described as its progressive counterpart.[3][4][5][6][7]

Founded in 2001, ACS is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[1] The organization promotes and facilitates discussion and debate of progressive public policy ideas and issues, providing forums for legal scholars, lawmakers, judges, lawyers, public policy advocates, law students, and members of the media. ACS reports that it has approximately 200 law school student chapters and 40 lawyer chapters around the country.[8]

On November 14 The American Constitution Society released a letter signed by over 1,600 attorneys nationwide calling for lawmakers and Justice Department officials to protect the special counsel's Russia probe in light of Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general.[9][10] The signatories call for Whitaker to recuse himself or "otherwise be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation as a result of his profound ethical conflicts."[9]

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
American Constitution Society Logo
PurposeTo promote individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law.[2]
Coordinates38°54′00″N 77°01′52″W / 38.900°N 77.0310°WCoordinates: 38°54′00″N 77°01′52″W / 38.900°N 77.0310°W
Caroline Fredrickson


The American Constitution Society was founded in 2001 by Peter Rubin, a Georgetown Law School professor who served as counsel to Al Gore in the legal battle over the 2000 election. The group was originally known as the Madison Society for Law and Policy. The organization was formed as a counterweight to the conservative Federalist Society. It was founded in order to build a network of progressive lawyers and foster new avenues of progressive legal thought.[1][11] ACS received its initial funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[1][12] The Democracy Alliance lists ACS as a recommended funding recipient.[13][14]

Board of directors

Members of the organization's board of directors have included David Halperin, a speechwriter in the Bill Clinton administration who also served as the organization's founding executive director from 2001 to 2003; and Eric Holder, former Attorney General of the United States.[1][12]


ACS hosts press and Capitol Hill briefings and public policy debates as well as an annual convention where an array of legal and public policy issues are discussed and debated.

The organization disseminates ACS Issue Briefs, the ACSBlog, a journal titled Harvard Law and Policy Review, and Advance: The Journal of the ACS Issue Groups.

In 2008, ACS's executive director, Lisa Brown, went on leave to serve on the Barack Obama transition team. She headed the president-elect's agency review team and later served as the first White House Staff Secretary in the Obama White House.[15]

In 2009, ACS published Keeping Faith with the Constitution by Pamela S. Karlan, Goodwin Liu, and Christopher H. Schroeder. It was re-issued by Oxford University Press in 2010. The book serves as a primer for progressives interested in promoting liberal constitutionalism.[16]

Since 2009, ACS has given an annual award to a rising star in public interest law named in memory of David Carliner. The Carliner award comes with a $10,000 prize for the winner, plus money for the winner's organization and for a finalist.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Savage, Charlie (December 10, 2008). "Liberal Legal Group Is Following New Administration's Path to Power". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Mission". American Constitution Society. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  3. ^ Michael McGough, Supreme Court nomination battle spotlights legal societies and their divergent views: Newer American Constitution Society modeled on more conservative Federalist Society (August 14, 2005), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. ^ Jonathan H. Adler, FedSoc v. ACS (June 19, 2010). Volokh Conspiracy.
  5. ^ Leslie A. Gordon, Left Turn Permitted (May 1, 2011), ABA Journal.
  6. ^ Stephanie Mencimer, The Tea Party Wants to Teach Your Kids About the Constitution (May 12, 2011). Mother Jones.
  7. ^ Douglas W. Kmiec, Let Dawn Do It (April 13, 2009). Legal Times.
  8. ^ "Chapters". American Constitution Society. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Axelrod, Tal (November 14, 2018). "Over 1,600 lawyers sign letter saying Mueller probe must be protected". The Hill. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sign On to Protect the Special Counsel's Investigation | ACS". American Constitution Society. November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  11. ^ Fletcher, Michael (December 7, 2008). "Legal Organization May Become Influential Beyond Its Dreams". Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Nix Hines, Crystal (June 1, 2001). "Young Liberal Law Group Is Expanding". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Prokop, Andrew (November 24, 2014). "The Democracy Alliance: How a secretive group of donors helps set the progressive agenda". Vox. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Gold, Matea (September 8, 2014). "New Koch offensive puts spotlight on Democracy Alliance". Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Jeffrey, Jeff (November 17, 2008). "Critical moment for liberal law group" (PDF). Legal Times.
  16. ^ "Keeping Faith with the Constitution". Oxford University Press. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  17. ^ "The American Constitution Society's David Carliner Public Interest Award".

External links

Barry E. Friedman

Barry E. Friedman (born January 23, 1958) is an American academic and one of the country's leading authorities on constitutional law, policing, criminal procedure, and federal courts, working at the intersections of law, politics and history. Friedman teaches a variety of courses including Judicial Decisionmaking, Federal Courts and the Federal System, and Criminal Procedure: Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as a seminar on Democratic Policing. He writes about judicial review, constitutional law and theory, federal jurisdiction, judicial behavior, and policing. His scholarship appears regularly in the nation's top law and peer-edited reviews.

His book, The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009), examines the history of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court, from 1776 to the present. Along with his co-author Stephen Burbank Friedman co-edited and contributed to Judicial Independence at the Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Approach, which questions common assumptions about the nature of judicial independence and how it can be protected.Professor Friedman also co-wrote Open Book: How to Succeed on Exams From the First Day of Law School (Aspen, 2nd ed. 2016), a guide to succeeding in law school for students, with Professor John Goldberg.Given the interdisciplinary nature of his work, Professor Friedman regularly appears at conferences in law, political science and history. He is the reporter for the American Law Institute's new Principles of Law: Police Investigations, and the founder and Director of NYU Law's Policing Project, which is dedicated to strengthening policing through democratic governance. He is a founder and co-convener of the "roughly biennial" Constitutional Theory Conference. He organizes multi-disciplinary conferences, including one on Modeling Law, and another – done under the auspices of the American Constitution Society – on Reconstruction: America's Second Founding. He presents papers regularly at home and abroad. He was a visiting scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, and has lectured at the Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches sur la Justice Constitutionnelle Aix-en-Provence and Sciences-Po in Aix-en-Provence.

Professor Friedman regularly serves as a litigator or litigation consultant in a variety of matters in the federal and state courts. He has represented a wide range of clients, both public and private. He represents both civil liberties claimants and state and local governments. He has been active in the areas of reproductive rights, the jurisdictional allocation of cases between the federal and state courts, and the proper scope of the federal government's commerce power. He has filed a number of amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Friedman created the Academic Careers Program and founded and is now co-director of the Furman Academic Program at New York University School of Law. Both programs are dedicated to preparing young scholars for academic careers. In the past he was involved with the American Judicature Society, was President of the Tennessee Civil Liberties Union, served on the Board of the State and Local Legal Center, and on the steering committee of New York University's Institute for Law and Society. He was Vice Dean of New York University School of Law from June 2007 to June 2010.Professor Friedman graduated from the University of Chicago and received his law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. He clerked for Phyllis A. Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and also worked as a litigation associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell in Washington D.C. He was a professor at Vanderbilt Law School before joining the NYU faculty in 2000. In 1995 he won the Clarence Darrow Award from the ACLU of Tennessee for his work in defense of civil liberties.

Becca Heller

Rebecca Heller is a lawyer specializing in human rights. She is known for her opposition to the Trump travel ban, and for her work providing legal assistance to refugees through the International Refugee Assistance Project, which she co-founded and directs.

Constitution Society (disambiguation)

The Constitution Society is a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Constitution Society or The Constitution Society may also refer to:

The Constitution Society, a UK-based educational charity which aims to educate the public about the British Constitution

American Constitution Society, a nonprofit advocacy group founded in 2001

Federalist Society

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current legal system of the United States in accordance with a textualist or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Founded in 1982, it is one of the nation's most influential legal organizations.In January 2019, The Washington Post Magazine wrote that the Federalist Society had reached an "unprecedented peak of power and influence." Of the nine members of the Supreme Court of the United States, five (Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito) are current or former members of the organization. Politico Magazine wrote that the Federalist Society "has become one of the most influential legal organizations in history—not only shaping law students' thinking but changing American society itself by deliberately, diligently shifting the country's judiciary to the right."The organization, whose ideals include "checking federal power, protecting individual liberty and interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning", plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers. According to Amanda Hollis-Brusky, the author of Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution, the Federalist Society "has evolved into the de facto gatekeeper for right-of-center lawyers aspiring to government jobs and federal judgeships under Republican presidents." According to William & Mary Law School professor Neil Devins and Ohio State University professor Lawrence Baum, the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush "aimed to nominate conservative judges, and membership in the Federalist Society was a proxy for adherence to conservative ideology." The Federalist Society has played a key role in suggesting judicial nominees to President Donald Trump; it vetted President Trump's list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees and, as of January 2019, 25 out of 30 of President Trump's appellate court nominees were current or former members of the society.The society is a membership organization that features a student division, a lawyers division, and a faculty division. The society currently has chapters at more than 200 United States law schools. The lawyers division comprises more than 70,000 practicing attorneys (organized as "lawyers chapters" and "practice groups" within the division) in ninety cities. The society is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Through speaking events, lectures, and other activities, it provides a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, and the legal academy.

Gillian E. Metzger

Gillian E. Metzger (born October 2, 1965) is a United States constitutional law scholar and a professor of law at Columbia Law School.

Harvard Law and Policy Review

The Harvard Law & Policy Review is a law journal and the official journal of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization. It was established in 2007. The journal publishes two printed editions per year, as well as additional content posted exclusively online. It is edited by Harvard Law School students. The journal publishes articles presenting progressive ideas for law and policy written by legal scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and students.

The Harvard Law & Policy Review should not be confused with the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, a forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship.

Jessica Jackson Sloan

Jessica Jackson Sloan is a human rights attorney and co-founder of #cut50, a national bipartisan effort aimed at reducing America’s incarceration rate. She also serves as the Mayor of Mill Valley, California.

Justin Brooks

Justin Brooks (born 1965) is an American criminal defense attorney, known internationally for his work in exonerating wrongfully-convicted people and training judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. He is a co-founder and currently serves as director of the California Innocence Project (CIP), which has freed a number of high-profile innocent clients, including former NFL football player Brian Banks,. The CIP is a founding member of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to wrongfully convicted people. Brooks is frequently interviewed on broadcast media and in print media about his cases and other legal issues.Brooks is also known for his activism. In April 2013, he walked 712 miles, from San Diego to Sacramento, on behalf of twelve of his clients: the so-called "California 12." For decades he has worked on law reform in Latin America and has founded Innocence organizations throughout the region. He is the director of Red Inocente; a network of projects freeing innocent Latin American prisoners.

Among his many honors, Brooks in 2012 won the first annual Roberto Alvarez Award by the American Constitution Society and was voted one of San Diego's Top Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2015. He is a two-time California Lawyer Magazine's "Lawyer of the Year" award winner (2010,2012). He currently serves as a tenured professor of law at California Western School of Law (CWSL) in San Diego.

Laurence Tribe

Laurence Henry "Larry" Tribe (born October 10, 1941) is a China-born American lawyer and scholar who is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at the Harvard Law School in Harvard University. Tribe's scholarship focuses on American constitutional law. He also works with the firm Massey & Gail LLP on a variety of matters.Tribe is a constitutional law scholar and cofounder of American Constitution Society. He is the author of American Constitutional Law (1978), a major treatise in that field, and has argued before the United States Supreme Court 36 times.Controversially, Tribe has promoted unreliable sources and conspiracy theories about Donald Trump.

Lisa Brown (lawyer)

Lisa Brown (born March 6, 1960) served as the first White House Staff Secretary in the Obama White House, assuming that post on January 20, 2009. Earlier, during the 2008-2009 presidential transition, she served as Co-Chair of Agency Review. Prior to joining the Obama-Biden Transition Team, she served as Executive Director of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization.

After President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address, Brown joined the Office of Management and Budget to assist the ambitious effort to draft a government reorganization proposal.Since March 2013, she has served as the chief legal counsel to Georgetown University as Vice President and General Counsel.

Pamela S. Karlan

Pamela Susan Karlan (born February 1959) is a professor of law at Stanford Law School. A leading liberal legal scholar on voting rights and political process, she served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Voting Rights in the United States Department of Justice Civil Division from 2014 to 2015.

Peter L. Strauss

Peter L. Strauss (born February 26, 1940) is the Betts Professor of Law Emeritus at Columbia Law School. He joined the faculty in 1971. He teaches courses in Administrative Law, Legal Methods, and Legislation, and the Regulatory State.

After graduating Harvard College (1961) and Yale Law School (1964), he had spent two years clerking for federal judges in Washington, D.C., two years lecturing on criminal law in the national university of Ethiopia, and three years as an attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General, briefing and arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court. During 1975-77, Professor Strauss was on leave from Columbia as the first General Counsel of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His published works include Administrative Justice in the United States (1989 and 2002); Gellhorn's & Byse's Administrative Law: Cases and Comments (most recently, 2011, with Rakoff, Farina and Metzger); Legal Methods: Understanding and Using Cases and Statutes (2005, 2008, and 2014); Legislation, Understanding and Using Statutes (2006), Administrative Law Stories (2006) and numerous law review articles, generally focusing on issues of rulemaking, separation of powers, and statutory interpretation.

In 1987 the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association presented to Professor Strauss its third annual award for distinguished scholarship in administrative law. In 1992-93, he served as Chair of the Section. He has been reporter for rulemaking on its APA and European Union Administrative Law projects, and was a member of its E-Rulemaking task force. He has twice been Vice Dean at Columbia. Professor Strauss has visited at the European University Institute, Harvard and NYU, and lectured widely on American administrative law abroad, including programs in Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Mexico, Turkey and Venezuela. In 2008, the American Constitution Society awarded him the first Richard Cudahy prize for his essay "Overseer or 'The Decider'? The President in Administrative Law." During 2008-09 he was Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European Law Institute and Parsons fellow at the University of Sydney Law School.

He is also a member of the board of the Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation, a Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Pocket Constitution

A pocket Constitution is a printed copy of the United States Constitution that is pocket-sized or pamphlet-sized and can fit in a pocket, purse, or other small container for portability.

Reva Siegel

Reva B. Siegel (born 1956) is the Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Siegel's writing draws on legal history to explore questions of law and inequality, and to analyze how courts interact with representative government and popular movements in interpreting the Constitution. She is currently writing on the role of social movement conflict in guiding constitutional change, addressing this question in recent articles on reproductive rights, originalism and the Second Amendment, the "de facto ERA," and the enforcement of Brown. Her publications include Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (with Brest, Levinson, Balkin & Amar, 2014); The Constitution in 2020 (edited with Jack Balkin, 2009); and Directions in Sexual Harassment Law (edited with Catharine A. MacKinnon, 2004). Professor Siegel received her B.A., M.Phil, and J.D. from Yale University, clerked for Judge Spottswood Robinson on the D.C. Circuit, and began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is active in the American Society for Legal History, the Association of American Law Schools, the American Constitution Society, in the national organization and as faculty advisor of Yale's chapter.

She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (, born Joan Ruth Bader; March 15, 1933) is an American lawyer and jurist who is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) of four to be confirmed to the court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are still serving). Following O'Connor's retirement, and until Sotomayor joined the court, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg turned to academia. She was a professor at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field.

Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg has received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she has been dubbed the "Notorious R.B.G."

Teresa Wynn Roseborough

Teresa Wynn Roseborough (born November 28, 1958) is an American lawyer, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the Clinton administration and is the executive vice president and general counsel at The Home Depot. She used to be Deputy General Counsel at MetLife, where she at one point led a department of 62 associates and supervised MetLife's litigation activities worldwide.

Thurmond rule

The Thurmond rule, in US politics, posits that at some point in a presidential election year, the US Senate will not confirm the president's nominees to the federal judiciary except under certain circumstances. The practice is not an actual "rule" and has not always been followed in the past, with presidents continuing to appoint and the Senate continuing to confirm judicial nominees during election years.

Although described by experts as a myth, the "rule" has been inconsistently invoked by senators from both political parties, usually when politically advantageous to do so.

University of New Hampshire School of Law

The University of New Hampshire School of Law is an American Bar Association–accredited law school located in Concord, New Hampshire, United States. It is the only law school in the state and was founded in 1973 by Robert H. Rines as the Franklin Pierce Law Center, named after the 14th President of the United States and New Hampshire native. The school is particularly well known for its Intellectual Property Law program. On April 27, 2010, Franklin Pierce Law Center formally signed an agreement to affiliate with the University of New Hampshire.

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