Committee named to lead Legacy of Slavery memorial project
February 10, 2023
Guy-Uriel Charles and Jeannie Suk Gersen will join the Harvard committee that will lead an effort to memorialize the enslaved individuals whose labor was instrumental in the establishment and development of Harvard.
Some watchers of the U.S. Supreme Court breathed a sigh of relief last month after most of the justices sounded skeptical during oral arguments about…
‘Just a little more free’
November 22, 2022
At the inaugural Belinda Sutton Distinguished Lecture, Johns Hopkins Professor Martha Jones chronicles her journey into her family’s ties to slavery and to Harvard.
As threats, misinformation and polarization spread, what is the future of democracy?
November 1, 2022
With elections still a week away, more than 100 lawsuits have already been filed targeting mail-in voting, early voting, voting machines, registration, access for partisan…
Ogletree family donates the celebrated law professor and civil rights scholar’s papers to Harvard Law School
October 13, 2022
The Harvard Law School Library has been chosen as a steward of the papers of Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the celebrated and influential Harvard Law professor and civil rights scholar.
Vote of Confidence
July 15, 2022
An election law course examines doctrine and asks students to consider ‘the way things ought to be, and how to make them happen’
Professor Guy-Uriel E. Charles, the Charles Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Sixteen Harvard faculty are among the 261 American Academy of Arts and Sciences newly elected members, the academy announced Thursday. “We are celebrating a depth of achievements in a breadth of areas,” said David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy. “These individuals excel in ways that excite us and inspire us at a time when recognizing excellence, commending expertise, and working toward the common good is absolutely essential to realizing a better future.” The Harvard inductees include: ... Guy-Uriel E. Charles Charles Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law; Faculty Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, Harvard Law School
Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as the first black woman to sit on US Supreme Court | U.S. News
April 11, 2022
Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed as the first black woman to sit on the US Supreme Court in its 233-year history. The judge secured the life-time role following a 53-47 vote in the US Senate, following fierce questioning from critics. Judge Jackson, 51, will also be the first former public defender to sit on the Supreme Court and the third black judge to sit. ... Guy-Uriel Charles, Harvard Law School professor and an expert in race and law, explained how Jackson may impact the court. He said: “I do think that as a black woman she will bring credibility on issues of race and issues of gender. On issues of race, she might serve as a counterweight to Justice Thomas. “In particular, I think young black girls will have an even stronger sense that all avenues, especially in law, are open to them.” ... Former US Solicitor General Charles Fried told Sky News he backed her because she was the “absolutely ideal nominee.” “She’s had life experience, where she’s had to fight her way up and succeeded at every stage,” he said. Mr Fried, who has taught at Harvard Law School since 1961, added that his experience as a public defender “lends a very important dimension of perspective to the court”.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearings may have been historic, in that she is the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court. But they have not been without precedent, at least with regard to questions on crime and race that she faced from some Republican senators, such as Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who have tried to portray her as "soft on crime." ... Guy-Uriel Charles, a professor at Harvard Law School, attributed that to what he described as a combination of "extreme partisanship" and racial and gender dynamics. "There's no doubt that the Republicans are trying to score as many partisan points as they possibly can with their base, and that they believe that there is some retribution to be paid for past Republican nominees," such as Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, he said. "So part of their motivation is clearly partisan. One has to account for that."
U.S. judges are narrowing voting protections. Some fear lasting damage
February 25, 2022
The nation's premier tool to protect voting rights is in mortal danger, threatened on multiple fronts by the Supreme Court and lower-ranking federal judges, scholars and civil rights advocates say. The latest blow to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 came this week in Arkansas, where a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump dismissed a case over new statehouse maps. The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the maps diluted the power of Black voters. But the judge said he found no way for the outside advocates to proceed. ... "They are teeing up statutory and constitutional questions for the Court with the justifiable belief that the Court will welcome the narrow interpretation and the opportunity to further narrow the statute," said Guy-Uriel Charles, an election law professor at Harvard Law School.
Supreme Court upholds congressional map accused of racial gerrymandering
February 11, 2022
The Supreme Court appears ready to strike another blow at the Voting Rights Act. In a 5-4 decision Monday night, they upheld a congressional map a lower court had tossed out. Host Scott Tong discusses the implications with Harvard Law professor Guy-Uriel Charles.
All-Female Liberal Wing to Change Supreme Court Dynamics
February 11, 2022
President Joe Biden’s first U.S. Supreme Court appointment won’t alter the 6-3 conservative majority, but her presence could spawn subtle changes on both the left and right sides of the bench. Adding the court’s first Black woman to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer, as Biden has said he intends to do, could prompt conservative justices to adjust how they approach cases involving race and gender. ... The potential impact of a new justice might depend a lot on “personality and background,” said Harvard Law professor Guy-Uriel Charles.
In Memoriam: Lani Guinier 1950 – 2022
January 7, 2022
Lani Guinier, the first African-American woman to be tenured at Harvard Law School and an influential scholar who devoted her life to justice, equality, empowerment, and democracy, died Jan. 7.
For anyone hoping that voting and elections post-2020 would become less polarized, the recent Take Back Virginia rally outside Richmond was not a good sign. ... But he also waited until after he had secured the Republican nomination for governor this year before he acknowledged that Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. "There's a reckoning that the Republican Party is going to have to come to terms with," said Guy-Uriel Charles, an election law expert at Harvard University. "It's going to have to figure out to what extent is it going to play with these types of insurrectionist, unserious, democracy-harming set of narratives."
GOP ‘Colorblind’ Map Drawing Tactic Tests Voting Rights Act (1)
October 13, 2021
Republican lawmakers redrawing states’ political lines are adopting a “colorblind” redistricting strategy aimed at inoculating maps against Democratic lawsuits that argue they dilute minority voting power. ... Democrats may now sue at their own peril, said Guy-Uriel E. Charles, a Harvard Law School Professor. The conservative U.S. Supreme Court has pared back the power of the Voting Rights Act, and in future litigation it could support the Republican argument, making federal law mostly useless in challenging racial gerrymandering. “Once the Republicans have confirmation from the Supreme Court that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is only violated where there’s intentional use of race to violate the voting power of voters of color, then you’re home free,” he said.
Is democracy in peril?
September 23, 2021
The state of American democracy will be examined in a lecture series, "Democracy," which had its first session this week and will continue through the fall and spring.
Faculty on the move
September 1, 2021
With the start of the academic year, a look at nine faculty who have joined Harvard Law School, been promoted, or taken on new roles in 2021.