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Redistricting and Voting 2017: The Legal Landscape

Speaker(s): Craig Engle, Dale Ho, Janai S. Nelson, Joanna E. Cuevas Ingram, Michael Li, Wendy R. Weiser, William S. Consovoy
Recorded on: May. 15, 2017
PLI Program #: 213011

Joanna Cuevas Ingram is an Associate Counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF (LJP), where she works on voting rights, police misconduct, employment discrimination and criminal justice reform, among other civil rights and constitutional rights matters. Joanna’s legal scholarship is published in the Harvard Latino Law Review, North Carolina Law Review and Daily Journal.  Her legal work has been covered by CNN, El Diario, Forbes, L.A. Times, Huffington Post, The Nation, ThinkProgress, Univision, USA Today and WNYC, among others.  Prior to joining LJP in New York, Joanna served as an Equal Justice Works Voting Rights Fellow and Attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF). At LCCRSF, Joanna engaged in successful voting rights impact litigation and community-based redistricting, testified before the California State Legislature and National Commission on Voting Rights, produced a key 50-page report on Voting Rights Barriers & Discrimination in Twenty-First Century California in response to Shelby County v. Holder, and provided essential Know Your Rights workshops for communities throughout California.  She has provided numerous presentations on voting rights protections, including as a guest lecturer at Stanford, Fordham, U.C. Berkeley, and U.C. Davis Law schools and as a panelist at the ABA, Columbia, GWU, NYU and U.C. Hastings Law schools, among others. Joanna received her J.D. from U.C. Davis School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & Policy.

Craig Engle is the founder of Arent Fox’s Political Law practice. He joined the firm in 2001 after a distinguished career on Capitol Hill. Craig has 30 years’ experience in advising political committees, candidates, office holders, foreign governments, international organizations, lobbyists and state governments on all aspects of campaign finance, election and tax laws, ethics, corporate formation and governance, and policy.

Craig’s clients have included several hundred candidates, political committees, office holders, law firms, individuals and governments. Craig regularly counsels these clients in the highly regulated and scrutinized areas of: Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulation of campaign finance practices for PACs, candidates and party committees; Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation of political activity of non-profits and trade associations; Lobbying disclosure Act (LDA) and Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Compliance; Congressional Ethics (HLOGA) and Executive Branch Lobbying and Professional Conduct Laws; Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulation of broadcast commercials and internet-based or social media political activity; Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement of civil and criminal laws regarding white collar investigations, false claims, fraud, and government contracting; 50 state and federal (MSRB, SEC) laws regarding pay-to-play rules, state lobbying and campaign finance regulation, and laws governing instate charitable and political solicitations; Congressional investigation and litigation defense strategies for targets of governmental and private sector adverse actions, and special counsel for internal investigations; Counsel to political parties on voting rights, election administration, ballot referendum, contested elections and recounts.

Craig has served as general counsel to two presidential campaigns, and multi-million dollar political committees. He co-authored three amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court, counseled over 100 candidates and Members of Congress and personally supervised the banking and reporting of over $300 million in campaign activities. He has helped dozens of Arent Fox clients create political committees by serving as their incorporator, initial board member and assistant treasurer.

Craig is best-known for bringing innovation to politics. He created one of the first SuperPacs, created the legal framework for texting political contributions, won several Advisory Opinions at the FEC opening new areas of law, successfully defeated New York State’s Anti- Citizens United Law in the Second Circuit, and participated in striking DOMA in United States v. Windsor. He is the co-author of several ballot referenda and campaign finance reform laws.

Janai Nelson is the seventh Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the country’s first civil and human rights law organization. As an organizational thought-leader at LDF, Ms. Nelson works with the President and Director-Counsel to determine and execute LDF’s strategic vision and oversee the operation of its programs.  She is also one of the lead counsel in Veasey v. Abbott, a federal challenge to Texas’s voter ID law.   Prior to joining LDF in June 2014, Ms. Nelson was Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship and Associate Director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law where she is also a full professor of law.

Ms. Nelson received the 2013 Derrick A. Bell Award from the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Minority Groups and was named one of Lawyers of Color’s 50 Under 50 minority professors making an impact in legal education.  Prior to joining St. John's faculty, Ms. Nelson was a Fulbright Scholar at the Legal Resources Center in Accra, Ghana.  She began practicing law as the 1998 recipient of the NAACP LDF/Fried Frank Fellowship, following federal district and appellate court clerkships.  Ms. Nelson later became Director of LDF’s Political Participation Group, overseeing all voting related litigation and matters, litigating voting rights and redistricting cases, and working on criminal justice issues. Ms. Nelson has appeared in various media as an expert on race, civil rights, constitutional law and election law, and regularly speaks at conferences and symposia nationwide.

Wendy Weiser directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a non-partisan think tank and public interest law center that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Her program focuses on voting rights and elections, money in politics and ethics, redistricting and representation, and fair courts. She founded and directed the center’s Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement across the country.

She has authored a number of nationally-recognized publications and articles on voting rights and election reform; litigated ground-breaking voting rights lawsuits; testified before both houses of Congress and in a variety of state legislatures; and provided policy and legislative drafting assistance to federal and state legislators and administrators across the country. She is a frequent public speaker and media contributor on democracy issues. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law.

Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Ms. Weiser was a senior attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she worked on issues of access to the courts and domestic violence, a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and a law clerk to E.D.N.Y. Judge Eugene H. Nickerson. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Yale College.

Dale Ho (@dale_e_ho) is the Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, and supervises the ACLU’s voting rights litigation and advocacy work nationwide.

Dale has active cases in over a dozen states throughout the country. He is an adjunct professor of law at NYU School of Law. He is a frequent commentator on voting rights issues, appearing on television programs including Hardball with Chris MatthewsAll-In with Chris Hayes, and the Melissa Harris-Perry Show; has written opinion pieces for the New York Times; and is widely published on redistricting and voting rights in law reviews including Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the Florida Law Review, and the University of Richmond Law Review.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Dale was Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; and a judicial law clerk, first to Judge Barbara S. Jones, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then to Judge Robert S. Smith, New York Court of Appeals. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Princeton University.

Mr. Consovoy is a founding partner of Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC. He assists clients on a broad range of litigation and appellate issues primarily before the Supreme Court of the United States and federal appellate and district courts. Last Term, Consovoy McCarthy Park was merits counsel in five cases argued before the Supreme Court. Mr. Consovoy argued two of those cases: Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins and Evenwel v. Abbott. He currently represents Students for Fair Admissions in its lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Other representative matters include Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Consovoy is a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Judge Edith H. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the 17th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. Mr. Consovoy is a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court and was named by Law360 as a “rising star” in appellate law for 2013.

Mr. Consovoy earned his B.A. from Monmouth University, and his J.D. magna cum laude from the Antonin Scalia Law School.  Mr. Consovoy is a member of the Virginia and District of Columbia bars.

Michael Li serves as Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where he heads the Center’s work on redistricting. He is a regular writer and commentator on redistricting and election law issues in numerous national outlets. Before joining the Brennan Center, Li practiced law in Dallas, Texas for over ten years and previously served as executive director of Be One Texas, a donor alliance that oversaw strategic and targeted investments in non-profit organizations working to increase voter participation and engagement in historically disadvantaged African-American and Hispanic communities in Texas. Li received his J.D., with honors, from Tulane University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin.