Professor Sherrilyn Ifill to Become the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

I am so proud to share the news that my colleague Professor Sherrilyn A. Ifill will become President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF).  The LDF is the nation’s premier civil rights law organization.  Ifill will become the seventh Director-Counsel and the second woman to head the organization.  The LDF was founded by Thurgood Marshall, the pioneering civil rights lawyer and later U.S. Supreme Court justice.  Marshall’s first successful civil rights case was his suit challenging the exclusion of black students from the University of Maryland School of Law.  That case, decided in 1935, is largely credited as the first case on the road to Marshall’s ultimately successful and landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education.  The law library at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is named in honor of Justice Marshall.

As the University of Maryland School of Law website notes:

“Professor Ifill is an extraordinary member of our faculty,” said UM Carey Law Dean Phoebe A. Haddon.  “We are deeply proud that she has been called upon to lead this storied national organization at a critical time.  Her intellect, vision, and life-long dedication to advancing justice will improve the rights of all.”

Ifill began her legal career as an assistant counsel at the LDF, where she litigated voting rights cases.  She joined the Maryland Law faculty in 1993, where she has taught Civil Procedure, Complex Litigation, Constitutional Law, and a variety of civil rights courses.  Professor Ifill litigated environmental justice cases with students in her Legal Theory and Practice courses, and co-founded the Re-entry of Ex-Offenders Clinic.  Her book, On the Courthouse Lawn:  Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century was published in 2007.  She is expected to take a leave of absence from the law school, and will work in both the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of the LDF.

“I am deeply grateful to Dean Haddon and the University for their support as I take up this new challenge,” said Professor Ifill. “My loyalty, respect for and commitment to the law school and its wonderful students is undiminished. Indeed it is my hope that that we will find rich opportunities for collaboration during my tenure at LDF.”

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6 Responses

  1. Chandler Davidson says:

    A wonderful choice! I can’t think of a more fitting person to fill this important role. Upward and onward!

  2. Brett Bellmore says:

    Any chance she’ll reverse the Strossen rule? “Putting all that aside, I don’t want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.”

    If they ever give up on their “Chinese menu” approach to the Bill of Rights, I might join. As long as they’re defining “civil liberties” as, “What we feel like defending, and nothing else”? Not a chance.

  3. Brett Bellmore says:

    Now, why did I read NAACP, and see ACLU? No commenting before my morning tea for me, how embarassing!

  4. Joe says:

    Good luck finding a group that is always right. With or without your morning tea. You care a lot about one issue. Some on that issue, e.g., might support the NRA. But, I can find various quotations from them overly conservative for my taste, so not for me.

    Going beyond a single quote, btw, she also relies on a school of thought as to what the 2A means. She doesn’t ignore the amendment. She took the then legally accepted in the federal courts meaning of it.

    So, you cannot join a group that protects a myriad of rights, including of gun owners in various contexts, many of the members disagreeing on their stand on this issue, but you know, no posting before morning tea.

  5. Brett Bellmore says:

    Joe, not to extend the inadvertent thread-jack, but as you must be aware, the ACLU is not shy about disagreeing with the Supreme court about the meaning of particular Amendments. (The 2nd, post-Heller, a case in point.) So pointing to federal court precedent means nothing at all.

    They don’t defend the 2nd amendment because they don’t want to defend it. And they don’t admit it’s a real civil liberty, because they don’t want to admit there are civil liberties they don’t want to defend.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

    Contrats to Ms. Ifill! May she acquit herself well, even when doing so is unpopular.

  6. Joe says:

    Brett, I did not say precedent was the only reason the ACLU took the position. The use of “want” or “admit” etc. aside, they take a certain position based on what they reason to be the correct meaning of the amendment. True or false it might be. And, their cause in many ways does protect gun owners, if not as directly as you might believe is right.

    I agree with the congrats and the ACLU often acquits itself well too, even with doing so is unpopular. HT.