Changing the Wind: Demosprudence of Law and Social Movements
Be sure to join Pitt Law and the Annual Lawyering for Social Change Lecture! This year, our speakers include:
Lani Guinier, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Civil Rights Activist
Gerald Torres, Professor of Law, University of Texas Law School
This event is free and open to the public.
Professor Lani Guinier became the first black woman tenured professor in Harvard Law School’s history in 1998. Her appointment was another milestone in a distinguished legal career. Professor Guinier first came to public attention in 1993 when President Clinton nominated her to be the first black woman to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. She had been a civil rights attorney for more than ten years and had served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter Administration as special assistant to then Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days. Immediately after her name was put forward in 1993, some Senators and commentators attacked Guinier’s views on democracy and voting, driving Clinton to withdraw her nomination without a confirmation hearing. That experience led Guinier to use her subsequent public platform to speak out on issues of race, gender and democratic decision-making and to call for candid public discourse on these issues. She has authored numerous books and articles, including a personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice, in which she uses the nomination debacle as a window on the civil rights movement past, present, and future. She has won numerous awards and accolades such as the Champion of Democracy Award from the National Women's Political Caucus and the Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School
Professor Gerald Torres, Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School is the former president of the Association of American Law Schools and served as deputy assistant attorney general deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Divison of the U.S. Department of Justice and counsel to then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. A leading figure in Critical Race Theory and an expert in agricultural and environmental law, Professor Torres started his academic career as a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. He is the co-author with Lani Guinier of The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (2002), which Publisher’s Weekly described as “one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years.” Torres received the 2004 Legal Service Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund(MALDEF) for his work to advance the legal rights of Latinos.
Professor Guinier and Torres’ talk will be based on their forthcoming book to be published by Oxford University Press, tentatively entitled, Changing the Wind: Demosprudence of Law and Social Movements. Guinier and Torres have coined the term Demosprudence, which they define as a democracy enhancing jurisprudence , and represents an effort to emphasize, reconnect and focus on the ways in which ordinary people can – and should -- influence judges or legislators in making and interpreting the law.