Staff Attorney - Motor-Voter Compliance [VRP-13/14]
American Civil Liberties Foundation
Voting Rights Project, Washington, DC
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.
The ACLU seeks to hire two attorneys for its Voting Rights Project, beginning in fall 2017, with a focus on enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act (also known as the federal “Motor-Voter Law”), which, among other things, requires states to provide voter registration services as DMVs and public assistance offices. This is a two-year limited duration position with the possibility of extension.
The ACLU Voting Rights Project was established in 1965 – the same year that the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) was enacted – and has litigated more than 300 cases since that time. Its mission is to ensure that all Americans can participate freely and equally in the political process. The Project employs an integrated advocacy approach, combating voter suppression measures through a combination of legislative advocacy and litigation, and has active cases in over a dozen states.
Within the last few years, the Voting Rights Project has represented parties in two voting rights cases on the merits before the Supreme Court: representing plaintiffs in Arizona v. ITCA, a successful challenge to Arizona’s imposition of onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration; and representing intervenors in Shelby County v. Holder, defending the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Project has been active in significant litigation at the trial and appellate levels in recent election cycles, including:
- In the 2012 election cycle, federal and state litigation that successfully blocked early voting reductions and restrictions on voter registration drives in Florida, as well as the implementation of voter ID laws in Texas, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
- In the 2014 election cycle, litigation that successfully blocked voter ID laws in Pennsylvania (again), Arkansas, and Wisconsin; as well as cases challenging restrictions on early voting and registration in Ohio and North Carolina.
- In the 2016 election cycle, litigation challenging restrictions in North Carolina (again), Kansas, and Wisconsin.
In addition to our work on voter suppression, the Project continues to challenge electoral arrangements that dilute the political strength of minority communities. In recent years, the Project has successfully litigated minority vote dilution cases at the trial and appellate levels in places including Ferguson, Missouri; Sumter County, Georgia; and Fremont County, Wyoming. A commitment to racial justice is the core of the Project’s work, and is the lens through which the Project views voting rights controversies.
The Voting Rights Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to strengthen democratic institutions and values, including the values of government transparency and accountability, and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The Center for Democracy includes the National Security Project; the Human Rights Program; the Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology; the Immigrants’ Rights Project; and the Voting Rights Project.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Participate in litigation of constitutional and statutory cases on a wide range of voting rights issues in the trial and appellate courts, with a focus on enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act.
- Conduct legal research and write legal memoranda.
- Help analyze legislation for potential litigation.
- Develop new cases and identify and work with potential plaintiffs and witnesses.
- Work with and advise ACLU state affiliates on voting rights litigation and advocacy.
- Work closely with legal and non-legal program staff, particularly legislative, communications, and advocacy staff to advance voting rights.
- Engage in public speaking, including at law schools and conferences.
- Supervise fellows, law students, paralegals, and legal administrative assistants.
- Travel as required for litigation, conferences, and client development.
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
- Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- J.D. degree. Individuals with significant litigation experience are encouraged to apply; salary and responsibilities will be adjusted accordingly.
- Admission to the District of Columbia Bar, or willingness to obtain admission within one year of hiring.
- Familiarity with voting rights, racial justice, and other civil liberties and civil rights issues is desirable; commitment to those issues is essential.
- Superior analytic skills and legal research and writing skills are required.
- Demonstrated ability to write and to speak clearly and persuasively are essential.
- Self-motivated, diligent, and able to meet strict deadlines while under pressure.
- Ability to work with a wide range of people and foster a team environment.
- Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.
The ACLU offers a generous compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested persons should submit a cover letter, resume, a legal writing sample of no more than 15 pages (preferably not a law journal submission), and names and contact information for three references, to: hrjobsVRP@aclu.org - Reference [Two-Year Staff Attorney – Motor-Voter Compliance – VRP-13/14] in the subject line.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
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