Jeh Johnson to Deliver Keynote at Advocating for the Rule of Law Seminar

By Brendan Kennedy

May 18, 2021

Jeh Johnson to Deliver Keynote at Advocating for the Rule of Law Seminar


By Brendan Kennedy

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and the New York Bar Foundation are bringing together thought-leaders, judges and scholars to discuss how the U.S. Constitution is being undermined.

The goal of the NYSBA CLE program on Thursday, June 3, is to empower all citizens to become better advocates for democracy. The webinar will focus on the forces eroding constitutional guarantees such as the separation of powers, preservation of a strong judiciary and checks and balances between governmental branches.

Jeh Johnson, former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, will deliver the keynote address at the “Advocating for the Rule of Law” event. It will also feature three other panel discussions, including:

The Press, Social Media and the Rule of Law 

Panelists will focus on how lawyers and members of the public can encourage traditional media and social media companies to protect the rule of law.

  • Moderator: David McCraw, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, The New York Times
  • Panelists: Jameel Jaffer, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Kate Klonick, St. John’s University School of Law and Oliver Sylvain, Fordham University School of Law

Educating for American Democracy

This panel will focus on efforts to raise the visibility and importance of teaching the rule of law in civics education.

  • Moderator: Hon. Victor Marrero, senior judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Panelists: Christopher Riano, president, Center for Civic Education and chair of NYSBA’s LGBTQ Law Section; Debra Lesser, executive director, Justice Resource Center; Hon. John Walker, Jr., senior judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Free and Fair Elections, Gerrymandering and the Rule of Law

The discussion will center around access to free and fair elections in the run-up and aftermath of the 2020 election. The panelists will also address racially discriminatory voter disenfranchisement efforts, underway around the country, redistricting in the first post-Shelby County v. Holder cycle and the For the People Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.

  • Panelists: Michael Pernick, redistricting counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Myrna Perez, director, Voting Rights and Elections, Brennan Center for Justice; Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project; Ted Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC School of Law

NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown will deliver the opening remarks. New York Bar Foundation President Lesley Rosenthal and Ignatius Grande, vice-chair of NYSBA’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, will also speak.

“As events of the past few months have shown, the rule of law is fragile and in an increasingly precarious state,” Brown said. “As lawyers, we have a duty to uphold this bedrock principle of American democracy and call out injustices wherever they arise. This program will give citizens the tools they need to ensure our country continues to have a free press, fair elections and a robust civics education for our children.”

Johnson, now a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, will discuss the perils facing both democracy writ large and the rule of law, touching on his first-hand experience serving at the top levels of the federal government.

“I want to thank Secretary Johnson as well as the rest of our distinguished panelists for their commitment to the rule of law,” Rosenthal said. “It’s important at times like this for the legal community to take a leadership role in bringing people together and stand up for the rule of law.”

Non-attorneys and members of the media are welcome to attend but must pre-register by clicking here.


Contact: Brendan Kennedy
[email protected]

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