By Professor Arthur D. Wolf, Director
With the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court,
the Senate, and the country were thrown into political turmoil over the
vacancy. Ten days before Justice Scalia died, Chief Justice Roberts,
speaking at New England Law School, stated that the Senate should
“ensure that nominees are qualified and leave politics out of it.” The
Institute invited Professors Bruce Miller, Sudha Setty, and Art Wolf to
address the wide-ranging issues related to “replacement politics,” histor-
ically and currently.
Among other topics, the panel discussed the history of replacing justices during an election year, the factors that may inform President
Obama in his selection, the Republican opposition to holding confirmation hearings until after the presidential election, and the Senate’s institutional practice of holding hearings. The presentation gave rise to a lively
discussion with the overflow audience, largely composed of students,
staff, and faculty.
The School of Law and the Institute were again cosponsors of the annual
New England Civil Rights and Fair Housing Conference, which has
grown to an annual gathering of over 500 attendees. This year was no
exception to the varied workshops, plenary sessions, and other scheduled events that the Conference offers to its participants. The entire program was devoted to cutting-edge current topics relating to civil rights
and fair housing.
Among the many distinguished speakers this year was Ernest Green,
one of nine African American students to integrate Central High School,
Little Rock, AK, in 1957. When the Governor refused to admit them,
President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock to ensure compliance with the federal court order requiring their admission. Green is
the first African American to graduate from Central High School and
served in the Carter administration as assistant secretary of labor for
training and employment. President Clinton appointed Green to chair
the African Development Foundation by President William J. Clinton.
Professor Wolf had the honor of working with Green in Cleveland many
Jonathan Kozol, a New York Times best selling author, educator, and
activist, also addressed the Conference. He is well known for his books
on public education in the United States. Kozol has devoted nearly his
entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity to every child in
our public schools.
The Conference also had the honor of hearing Attorney P. David
Lopez, who was sworn in as general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2010. He was nominated by
President Barack Obama. Prior to this appointment as General Counsel,
Attorney Lopez had a distinguished career at the EEOC. For example, he
won significant jury verdicts against Alamo Rent-a-Car (the first "post-
9/11 backlash" religious accommodation case brought by the EEOC), and
Go Daddy (a national origin, religion, and retaliation case).
Conference participants also greeted Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whom
President Obama nominated as the United States Attorney for the District
of Massachusetts in 2009. She is the first Hispanic and the first woman
to represent Massachusetts as U.S. Attorney. She oversees the work of
more than 200 attorneys and support staff in Boston, Worcester, and
Springfield. Among her many accomplishments, U.S. Attorney Ortiz
implemented the District’s first civil rights initiative. Through extensive
community outreach efforts, she reinvigorated enforcement efforts of federal civil rights laws and increased visibility among affected communities.
The Conference annually invites high-ranking officials from the federal government who are critical to the implementation of our fair housing
programs. This year we had the privilege of presenting the Honorable
Gustavo Velasquez. the assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal
Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He leads the President's efforts to combat housing discrimination
through the affirmative action command of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Prior to his nomination, Assistant Secretary Velasquez was executive
director of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), a nonprofit
organization based in Washington, DC. LEDC serves thousands of Latinos
and other immigrants and underserved populations, helping them to
gain the necessary skills and capital to start and maintain their own
The Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs presented three
major events during the spring semester, 2016. The Institute co-
hosted, with the Latino/a Law Student Association, Connecticut State
Representative Juan Candelaria (right), who spoke on his experiences
as a lawmaker leading efforts to empower youth and Latinos statewide
to get involved in the democratic process through voter registration drives
and education. Having served since 2002, in 2013 Rep. Candelaria was
elected by his colleagues to be chair of the Black and Latino
Caucus to lead their legislative agenda in the legislature. In that
role, he has sought to pass legislation that would allow undocu-
mented immigrants to apply for Connecticut driver’s licenses.
Additionally, he was instrumental in passing Connecticut’s instate tuition legislation in 2011 to allow students without legal
documentation to pursue their educational dreams.
Read more about the Institute
at law.wne.edu/ilga. *
INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE AND
Representative Juan Candelaria