Voting Rights litigators, advocates, experts and practitioners have a new resource both online and off with the newly established Voting Rights Institute at Georgetown Law. The institute was formed in partnership with the American Constitution Society and the Campaign Legal Center. Many of the stalwarts working behind the scenes in voting rights litigation came together for what many would say is a much needed destination for voting rights scholarship, a subject often lost in the larger civil rights agenda.
Video of the center’s official launch last October is below. Highlights of this new initiative include a robust training institute and an equally robust website designed with the voting rights litigator in mind, complete with an expert witness database. The public will also be served as well; for starters, the site will feature an online complaint form for individuals who feel they have been disenfranchised.
The institute’s launch is partly a reaction to the Supreme Court’s dismantling of the preclearance system once used to ensure that certain states and local jurisdictions did not alter voting relating law or procedure to disadvantage minorities. It also fills the need for practitioners in this highly specialized practice area to coalesce and exchange information and ideas. Here is the Institute’s own description of its mission:
The Voting Rights Institute (VRI) at Georgetown Law offers opportunities for students, recent graduates and fellows to engage in voting rights work, including active litigation. In addition, the VRI will continue to train the next generation of attorneys and expert witnesses in the field of voting rights. The VRI will also maintain a website with information about voting rights cases and issues available to the general public, and a separate legal resources library for voting rights litigators. The VRI will also promote increased local and national focus on voting rights issues through events, publications and the development of web-based tools; and provide opportunities and platforms for research and data base analysis of voting rights issues.