The Lawyers Division of the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) New York Region presents the 20th annual Edward Brodsky Legal Conference. Each year, the Edward Brodsky Legal Conference brings together distinguished academics, journalists and policy experts to debate timely legal issues. This year's topic, American Democracy in the 21st Century: Voting Rights, Redistricting and Campaign Finance, will wrestle with the significant changes to voting rights, redistricting and campaign finance - and what they mean to American democracy.
Mike Carvin focuses on constitutional, appellate, civil rights, and civil litigation against the federal government. He has argued numerous cases in the United States Supreme Court and in virtually every federal appeals court. These cases include the recent constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act and the decisions invalidating Sarbanes-Oxley's accounting board, preventing the Justice Department from obtaining monetary relief against the tobacco industry under RICO, overturning the federal government's plan to statistically adjust the census, limiting the Justice Department's ability to create "majority-minority" districts, and upholding Proposition 209's ban on racial preferences in California.
Julie A. Fernandes is a senior policy analyst at the Open Society Foundations. In that capacity, Fernandes works to influence public policy in support of the protection of civil and human rights in the United States, with a focus in the areas of voting rights, election reform, and racial justice.
Prior to her current position, Fernandes was deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. Fernandes was responsible for oversight of the Division’s work in the areas of voting rights, federal compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and international human rights. Fernandes also spent a year as director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, a coalition of national organizations working together to end modern slavery in the United States and around the world.
For more than six years, Fernandes was the senior policy analyst and senior counsel at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. Fernandes also served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton at the White House Domestic Policy Council where her work focused on the development of policy in the areas of immigration, race relations, and civil rights.
Prior to her position with LCCR, Fernandes served as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Bill Lann Lee, working primarily on legal and policy issues related to voting rights, international human rights, and police misconduct, including racial profiling, and was a trial lawyer in the Housing and Voting Sections of the Civil Rights Division.
Fernandes received both her JD and AB degrees from the University of Chicago. She was the Karpatkin Fellow in the National Legal Department of the American Civil Liberties Union and clerked for the Honorable Diane P. Wood at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Joel Gora has been a professor at Brooklyn Law School since 1978, teaching constitutional law, civil procedure and a number of other related courses. He also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1993-1997 and again from 2002 through 2006. He is the author of a number of books and articles dealing with First Amendment and other constitutional law issues. He is also an expert on campaign finance law matters, working in the field as both an advocate and an academic. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Law School faculty, Professor Gora was a law clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for two years after he graduated from law school, and then a full-time lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union for almost ten years. During his ACLU career, he worked on dozens of United States Supreme Court cases, including many landmark rulings. Chief among them was the case of Buckley v. Valeo, the Court’s historic 1976 decision on the relationship between campaign finance restrictions and First Amendment rights. He has worked, on behalf of the ACLU, on almost every one of the important campaign finance cases to come before the Court. He also served for more than 25 years on the board of directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and as one of its general counsel. He has served as well on a number of policy committees of the New York City Bar, and is also a member of the board of the Federal Bar Council.
Liz Kennedy is Counsel at Demos working on voting rights, money in politics, and corporate accountability. She works to expand political participation by eliminating barriers to voting and empowering voters; she works to increase transparency and accountability for money in politics to fight corruption of democratic government and to fulfill America’s promise of political equality. Liz develops policies, writes, and works with partners across the country. In addition to appearing on television and being quoted in the media, Liz is the author or co-author of “Bullies at the Ballot Box: Protecting the Freedom to Vote Against Wrongful Challenges and Intimidation” “Stop the Next Citizens United: McCutcheon v. FEC and the Crisis of Confidence in American Democracy” “Democracy at Stake: Protecting Democracy in the Super PAC Era,” “Protecting the Freedom to Vote,” “Citizens Actually United: The Bi-Partisan Opposition to Corporate Political Spending and Support for Common Sense Reform,” and “Ten Ways Citizens United Endangers Democracy.”
Prior to joining Demos, Liz was an Attorney in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, working on issues of money in politics and democratic accountability. Liz was deputy director of voter protection for the 2008 Obama campaign in Ohio, has represented unions in industrial bankruptcy cases, and was a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Liz’s writing has appeared in the American Prospect, the National Civic Review, Human Rights: a Journal of the American Bar Association, the Boston Herald, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Hill's Congress Blog, and the Huffington Post. Liz is a graduate of Smith College and received her J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law.
Burt Neuborne is the Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties and founding Legal Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. For 45 years, he has been one of the nation's foremost civil liberties lawyers, serving as National Legal Director of the ACLU from 1981-86, Special Counsel to the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1990-1996, and as a member of the New York City Human Rights Commission from 1988-1992. He has argued numerous Supreme Court cases, and has litigated literally hundreds of important constitutional cases in the state and federal courts. He challenged the constitutionality of the Vietnam War, pioneered the flag burning cases, worked on the Pentagon Papers case, worked with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she headed the ACLU Women's Rights Project, anchored the ACLU's legal program during the Reagan years, and defended the Legal Services program against unconstitutional attacks. From 1995 to 2007, he directed the legal program of the Brennan Center, focusing on efforts to reinforce American democracy and secure campaign finance reform. The Brennan Center was established in 1994 to honor Justice William Brennan, Jr.’s monumental contribution to American Law.
At the same time, Professor Neuborne has forged a national reputation as a constitutional scholar and teacher. In 1990, he was the recipient of the University-wide Distinguished Teacher Award at New York University for his work in teaching Civil Procedure, Evidence, Federal Courts and Constitutional Law. He is the author of three books and over 20 law review articles on diverse areas of constitutional law and procedure. Among his best known scholarly works is the two-volume Political and Civil Rights in the United States, which he co-authored with NYU colleagues Norman Dorsen and Sylvia Law and the Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, Paul Bender. His 1992 lectures on American law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona have been translated and published in Spanish. In 2001, in recognition of his scholarship and his work in the courts, Professor Neuborne was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 1996, Professor Neuborne appeared as Jerry Falwell's lawyer in Milos Forman's The People v. Larry Flynt.
For the past 14 years, Professor Neuborne has served as a principal counsel in a series of lawsuits seeking to recover property unjustly taken from Holocaust victims by Swiss banks and German corporations during the Nazi era. The litigation has succeeded in assembling more than $8.5 billion for distribution to Holocaust victims and their families throughout the world. Professor Neuborne was appointed by the Court to oversee the $1.25 Swiss bank settlement, and was appointed by the United States to serve on the Board of Trustees of the German Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future,” established to distribute the $5.2 billion settlement in the German slave labor litigation.
Professor Neuborne is married to Helen Redleaf Neuborne.
Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis. Rosen is also a professor at The George Washington University Law School, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing editor for the Atlantic.