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2014 NIU Law Review Symposium Speakers

J. Christian AdamsJ. Christian Adams is the founder of the Election Law Center Virginia.  His New York Times bestselling book on the Voting Rights Act and elections is entitled Injustice.  He served from 2005 to 2010 in the Voting Section at the United States Department of Justice where he brought a wide range of election cases to protect racial minorities in South Carolina, Florida, and Texas.  He successfully litigated the landmark case of United States v. Ike Brown in the Southern District of Mississippi, the first case brought under the Voting Rights Act on behalf of a discriminated-against white minority in Noxubee County.  He also brought the first case by private plaintiffs resulting in a settlement to clean up corrupted voter rolls under the federal Motor Voter law passed in 1993.  In private practice, he represented the Presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman and is currently involved in election litigation in Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi and in Guam. He is legal editor at, an internet news publication. He is a member of the South Carolina and Virginia Bars.

Deborah N. ArcherDeborah N. Archer is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at New York Law School.  As Associate Dean, she works with faculty and administrators to develop the curriculum and help drive the Law School’s efforts at innovation in legal education. She is an expert in the areas of civil rights and racial discrimination.  Dean Archer was previously an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated at the trial and appellate level in cases involving affirmative action in higher education, employment discrimination, school desegregation, and voting rights. Prior to joining New York Law School, Dean Archer was an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Dean Archer is also Director of the Racial Justice Project and the Civil Rights Clinic. As Director, she continues to work to protect the constitutional and civil rights of people of color and increase public awareness of racism, racial injustice, and structural racial inequality. Dean Archer has also participated as amicus counsel in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeal, including Ricci v. DeStefano, Fisher v. University of Texas, and Shelby County v. Holder.

Dean Archer graduated with honors from Smith College in 1993 and was awarded her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996. She clerked for Judge Alvin Thompson in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Dean Archer has also served on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Civil Rights Committee and on the Committee on Civil Rights of the New York State Bar Association.

Professor Aderson FrancoisProfessor Aderson B. Francois is the Supervising Attorney of the Civil Rights Clinic and also teaches Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Federal Civil Rights, and Supreme Court Jurisprudence at Howard University School of Law.  In 2008, the Transition Team of President Barack Obama appointed Professor Francois Lead Agency Reviewer for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.  He has testified before Congress on civil rights issues and drafted numerous briefs to the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California, the Supreme Court of Iowa, and Maryland’s highest court on such civil rights matters as equal protection in education, employment discrimination, voting rights, marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the right to a fair criminal trial.  He received his J.D. from New York University School, clerked for the late Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, became an associate in the litigation department in the New York Offices of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, provided pro bono death penalty representation to inmates before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and served as a Special Assistant in with the United States Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C.  

Dr. Saby GhoshrayDr. Saby Ghoshray is the President of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies.  With more than a decade of corporate experience with premier investment banks and fortune 50 corporations, Dr. Ghoshray founded the Institute to foster and disseminate advanced legal scholarship premised on multidisciplinary approach. Besides serving in various executive positions from Global Mergers & Acquisitions to Corporate Compliance, he has been an extensively sought-out commentator in multi-faceted disciplines, illuminating issues from a cross-cultural perspective. Widely published in over one hundred peer-reviewed journal and law review articles and book chapters, Dr. Ghoshray dissects legal issues through a unique blend of legal formalism and cutting edge multi-disciplinary approach, as evident in his recently published, Capital Jury Decision Making: Looking Through the Prism of Social Conformity and Seduction to Symmetry, 66 U. Miami L. Rev. (2013), or Examining Citizens United’s Expansive Reach: Looking Through the Lens of Market Place of Ideas and Corporate Personhood, 57 Wayne L. Rev. (2012). His expertise in constitutional law and deep knowledge of several non-legal disciplines has allowed him to consult on post-conviction review and appellate cases, in addition to becoming a prolific author and speaker. 

Dr. Ghoshray’s main scholarship searches for equality in the legal process vis-à-vis the prism of gender, class and ethnicity. This is echoed in his work on various subsets of International Law, Federalism, Separation of Power and the emerging aspects of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment Jurisprudence, among others. His work has been published in various prestigious journals, such as the Albany Law Review, ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Fordham International Law, Santa Clara Law Review, European Law Journal ERA-Forum, Toledo Law Review, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Catholic Law Journal, Santa Clara Law Review, Loyola Law Journal, Michigan State International Law Journal, Georgetown International Law Review and, Miami Law Review, among others. He studied law at Cornell University where he also received an MBA from the prestigious Johnson Graduate School of Management, besides completing his PhD. in Chaos Theory from Florida International University. Dr. Ghoshray is multi-lingual, has travelled extensively while lecturing as speaker, panelist and Moderator in numerous legal symposiums in wide-ranging topics of Law, Policy & Corporate Governance.

Jon M. GreenbaumJon M. Greenbaum is the chief counsel and senior deputy director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, where he is responsible for managing the Committee's efforts to seek racial justice.  From December 2003 to January 2010, Mr. Greenbaum served as the director of the Committee's Voting Rights Project, where he led its program to achieve equality and protect advances in voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities and other traditionally disfranchised groups.   Highlights during his tenure included the Lawyers' Committee's leadership in Election Protection, the nation's leading nonpartisan voter protection program; the Committee's documentation of the record justifying reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and the defense of the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Act in court; and groundbreaking litigation. 

Mr. Greenbaum has successfully litigated numerous cases in the federal courts and has argued before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.  Notable cases in which he has played a major role include Shelby County v. Holder (defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act), the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, Inc., et al v. Maryland Higher Education Commission et al (desegregation challenge to Maryland's higher education system; Gonzalez v. Arizona (challenge to Arizona's documentation of citizenship requirement for voter registration applicants); and League of Women Voters v. Brunner (constitutional challenge to Ohio's administration of elections).  In addition, he has testified before Congress, state legislatures and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Mr. Greenbaum is co-chair of the Voting Rights Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the national umbrella organization of American civil rights groups.  He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and is co-author of "Government-Issued Photo Identification and Proof of Citizenship Requirements for Voters" in America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (American Bar Association 2008).

Prior to joining the Lawyers' Committee in 2003, he served as senior trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1997-2003.  While at the Department of Justice, he instituted Voting Rights Act lawsuits on behalf of minority voters nationwide and educated government officials and community members on federal voting protections. 

Mr. Greenbaum received his law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993 and his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989.

Marissa LieblingMarissa Liebling leads the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ Voting Rights Project. She partners with area law firms and nonprofit organizations to provide legal voter protection during elections, works with officials and community partners to advocate for better election practices, and works with voters directly to increase voting rights education. She trained several hundred attorneys on election laws and practices and supervised a Midwest call center that assisted over 3,000 voters in November. She has been interviewed by local media about voting rights, voter suppression, and Supreme Court decisions and she has presented on voting rights and election law at regional, statewide, and national conferences. She has written an article on voting rights for the monthly Chicago Bar Association Record, various blog articles and reports, as well as trainings and know-your-rights materials for community groups and voters. Local and national groups have consulted her for knowledge of the Illinois election code and practices. Marissa received her JD from the Northwestern University School of Law, where she was the recipient of the John Henry Wigmore full tuition merit scholarship. She received her BA from the George Washington University, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Academic Scholarship and graduated with honors. Marissa is admitted to practice as an attorney in Illinois.

Professor Lawrence SchlamLawrence Schlam is a Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University School of Law. His primary teaching interests are in the fields of constitutional law, child law, criminal law, legislation, and civil rights litigation. He chaired the Illinois State Bar Association Section Council on Individual Rights and Responsibilities from 1979 to 1981 and, while in private practice, was involved in criminal and juvenile law, media and entertainment law, and litigated several federal civil rights matters concerning police misconduct, sex discrimination, education, and wrongful discharge of public employees. Schlam was also supervising attorney or counsel to several law reform and legal aid programs. He has been adjunct instructor at DePaul University School of Law and, at Northwestern University School of Law, he was staff counsel to the National Institute for Education in Law and Poverty. Schlam's scholarship interests involve state and federal constitutional law and child law. His book, The Bill of Rights: Fundamental Freedom, was published in 1981, and, more recently, he has become General Editor of the Illinois Juvenile Court Bench Book (Vol. I: 2005, 2007; Vol. II: 2006, 2008), and General Editor and Chapter Author of Illinois Juvenile Law and Practice (2007).  Schlam was appointed a member of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission and the ISBA Child Law Section Council in 2013.  

Ilya ShapiroIlya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Before joining Cato, he was a special assistant/advisor to the Multi-National Force in Iraq on rule of law issues and practiced international, political, commercial, and antitrust litigation at Patton Boggs and Cleary Gottlieb. Shapiro has contributed to a variety of academic, popular, and professional publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, L.A. Times, USA Today, National Law Journal, Weekly Standard, New York Times Online, and National Review Online. He also regularly provides commentary for various media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision and Telemundo, The Colbert Report, NPR, and American Public Media’s Marketplace. Shapiro has provided testimony to Congress and state legislatures and, as coordinator of Cato’s amicus brief program, filed more than 100 “friend of the court” briefs in the Supreme Court. He lectures regularly on behalf of the Federalist Society and other groups, is a member of the Legal Studies Institute’s board of visitors at The Fund for American Studies, was an inaugural Washington Fellow at the National Review Institute, and has been an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School. Before entering private practice, Shapiro clerked for Judge E. Grady Jolly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, while living in Mississippi and traveling around the Deep South. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (where he became a Tony Patiño Fellow). Shapiro is a member of the bars of New York, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a native speaker of English and Russian, is fluent in Spanish and French, and is proficient in Italian and Portuguese.

Hans Von SpakovskyHans A. von Spakovsky is the Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow at the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. He is an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform -- as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.  As manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative, von Spakovsky also studies and writes about campaign finance restrictions, voter fraud and voter ID, enforcement of federal voting rights laws, administration of elections and voting equipment standards.  Heritage’s election reform project examines not only how to protect the integrity of campaigns and elections but to achieve greater fairness and security. “In an era of razor-thin election margins, these issues are vital to the preservation of our republican form of government and the rule of law,” von Spakovsky says.

Previously, as manager of the think tank’s Civil Justice Reform Initiative, von Spakovsky studied how plaintiffs’ attorneys and activists attempt to manipulate the courts for their own ends -- at the expense of the public.  He is the co-author with John Fund of the book Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk (Encounter Books, 2012).  Before joining Heritage in 2008, von Spakovsky served two years as a member of the Federal Election Commission, the authority charged with enforcing campaign finance laws for congressional and presidential elections, including public funding.  Previously, von Spakovsky worked at the Justice Department as counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, providing expertise in enforcing the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

A former litigator, in-house counsel and senior corporate officer in the insurance industry, von Spakovsky worked on tort reform and civil justice issues there for more than a decade.  He has served on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and on the Fulton County (Ga.) Board of Registrations and Elections. He is a former vice chairman of the Fairfax County (Va.) Electoral Board and a former member of the Virginia Advisory Board to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

His analysis and commentary have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Politico and Human Events, as well as such outlets as National Review Online and Townhall. His series for PJ Media, “Every Single One,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He appears regularly on Fox News Channel and on other national and regional TV and radio news outlets.  He has testified before state and congressional committees and made presentations to, among other organizations, the National Association of Secretaries of State, the Federalist Society, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative Exchange Council. He also has taught as an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law. A 1984 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, von Spakovsky received a bachelor's degree in 1981 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently resides in Vienna, Va.

Samuel SpitalSamuel Spital is senior counsel in Holland & Knight's Community Services Team, focusing on death penalty appeals and voting rights cases.  Working with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, he represented voters who had intervened to defend the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in both Northwest Austin v. Holder and Shelby County v. Holder.   After graduating law school, Mr. Spital served as a law clerk to The Honorable Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and to The Honorable John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.   He is also on the adjunct faculty at Columbia Law School, where he teaches a course on constitutional rights enforcement in habeas and prison cases.   


Joshua ThompsonJoshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in August, 2007. He spends the majority of his time in PLF's Individual Rights practice group, specializing in both the Equality under the Law Project and the K-12 Education Reform Project. Mr. Thompson also litigates cases in PLF's environmental law and economic liberty projects.

Mr. Thompson's work in the Equality Under the Law Project has led to the invalidation of California statutes granting race-based preferences in public contracting, as well as the Port of Oakland's use of a race-based selection process for its vendors. He has authored numerous briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, including PLF's brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, which the The Weekly Standard described as the "the most persuasive [brief] overall." Mr. Thompson also leads PLF's K-12 Education Reform Project, arguing for the rights of parents and students to choose the best education for their needs. To that end, he has filed briefs in Indiana, New Hampshire, Georgia, California, and the United States Supreme Court.

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