Missouri Symposium on Felon Disenfranchisement

April 12, 2019

Illustration by Eleanor Davis.

Overview

The Missouri Law Review and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, with support from the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs, the University of Missouri Departments of History, Human and Environmental Science, and Political Science, and the University of Missouri Office for Civil Rights and Title IX, are pleased to announce the 2019 Symposium on Felon Disenfranchisement.

Despite the fact that, in the past 20 years, 23 states have adopted more lenient disenfranchisement policies, nearly six million Americans are not eligible to vote because of a felony conviction. These limits on the access to vote have received increased attention as the 2020 elections approach, in part because felony disenfranchisement has important electoral and democratic implications. The symposium explores these consequences and brings together 14 scholars from across several disciplines.

The symposium will feature three panels of interdisciplinary scholars discussing the historical origins of felon disenfranchisement and disenfranchisement’s consequences for democracy, the implications of criminal disenfranchisement for voting rights and elections, and the democratic challenges facing states who seek to restore voting rights. In addition, the symposium will feature a keynote address delivered by Stanford University’s Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and co-director of Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The symposium dovetails with the Missouri Law School’s one read book, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, and is open to the public.

Location

All events will be held in Hulston Hall on the University of Missouri Campus.

Cost and Registration

The symposium is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

About

Missouri Law Review

First published in 1936, the Missouri Law Review is one of the oldest legal publications west of the Mississippi River. The law review is an entirely student-run and student-edited journal published quarterly by the University of Missouri School of Law.

The Missouri Law Review contains three sections: Lead Articles, Comments, and Cas enotes and Law Summaries. Law professors, practicing attorneys, and members of the judiciary write lead articles. Missouri Law Review members write for the comments section, providing an in-depth focus on a particular area of law. Law review associate members write case notes that analyze issues raised by recent court decisions or legislative acts. These members also write law summaries that provide a broad discussion of a statute or legal topic.

The Missouri Law Review publishes one volume per academic year. Each volume consists of the four issues published quarterly in the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy

The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy is an interdisciplinary, signature academic center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, jointly operated by faculty from the Political Science and History departments, in cooperation with other scholars across campus. It is dedicated to excellence in research, teaching, and community engagement on the subjects of American political thought, history, and institutions, with a particular emphasis on the ideas and events of the American Founding and their continued global impact and relevance today. It was created in 2015 by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas. The Institute advances its core mission while serving the following four constituent groups: undergraduate students; faculty and graduate students; citizens of Columbia and the State of Missouri; and the global scholarly community.

 

Friday, April 12, 2019
8:00 am
Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Welcome

Paul J. Litton
Associate Dean for Faculty Research and R.B. Price Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

8:45 am Introduction

Jay Dow
Professor of Political Science
University of Missouri

9:00 am Voting Rights, Elections, and Criminal Disenfranchisement

Panelists:

Jessica Ring Amunson
Partner, Election Law and Redistricting Practice Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Co-Chair
Jenner and Block, Washington, DC

Bruce Cain
Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences
Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, SIEPR, and the Precourt Institute for Energy
The Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West
Stanford University

Myrna Pérez
Deputy Director
Brennan Center for Justice
New York University School of Law

Discussant:

Jay Dow
Professor of Political Science
University of Missouri

10:15 am Break
10:30 am Keynote Address

Pamela S. Karlan
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law, Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
Stanford Law School

11:45 am Lunch Break
1:15 pm Historical Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement and Consequences for Democracy

Panelists:

Gabriel “Jack” Chin
Edward L. Barrett Jr., Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, and Director of Clinical Legal Education
University of California Davis School of Law

Pippa Holloway
Professor of History
Middle Tennessee State University

Rogers Smith
Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science
President, American Political Science Association
University of Pennsylvania

Discussant:

Christa Dierksheide
Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and History, University of Missouri
Senior Fellow, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello

2:30 pm Break
2:45 pm The Challenges of Voting Rights Restoration

Panelists:

Alec Ewald
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Vermont

Jennifer Selin
Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Political Science
University of Missouri

Emily Rong Zhang
J.D., Ph.D. candidate
Department of Political Science
Stanford University

Discussant:

S. David Mitchell
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

4:00 pm Concluding Remarks
Lauren Vincent
Editor in Chief
Missouri Law Review

Panelists

Jessica Ring Amunson
Partner, Jenner and Block, Washington, DC
Election Law and Redistricting Practice Chair
Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Co-Chair

Jessica Ring Amunson is a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, where she serves as co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and chair of the firm’s Election Law and Redistricting Practice. An experienced litigator, Amunson has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal and state courts of appeals and has authored hundreds of briefs. She has successfully represented clients in matters involving federal constitutional claims, statutory interpretation questions, administrative law issues, and large commercial disputes. Amunson also regularly counsels clients on appellate and Supreme Court strategy. In her election law practice, she represents clients, including elected officials, in matters involving redistricting, voting rights, and campaign finance in the U.S. Supreme Court, before the Federal Elections Commission, and in courts around the country. She serves on the Advisory Committee to the Voting Rights Institute and is a member of the Litigation Strategy Council for the Campaign Legal Center. Currently, Amunson is counsel to the plaintiffs in Thompson, et al. v. Alabama, a challenge to Alabama’s felon disenfranchisement law pending in federal district court in the Middle District of Alabama.


Bruce Cain
Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences
Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), and the Precourt Institute for Energy
The Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West
Stanford University

Bruce E. Cain was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (California Institute of Technology 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000). His areas of expertise include political regulation, applied democratic theory, representation and state politics. Professor Cain is the author of Democracy More or Less: America’s Political Reform Quandary (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and his most recent articles have been published in the Yale Law Journal, the Election Law Journal, and the UC Irvine Law Review. He received a B.A. from Bowdoin College, a B. Phil. from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.


Gabriel “Jack” Chin
Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law
Director of Clinical Legal Education
University of California Davis School of Law

Gabriel “Jack” Chin is a teacher and scholar of immigration law, criminal procedure, and race and law. His scholarship has appeared in the Penn, UCLA, Cornell, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law reviews and the Yale, Duke and Georgetown law journals, among others. The U.S. Supreme Court cited his work on collateral consequences of criminal conviction in Chaidez v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 1103, 1109 (2013) and in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010). Justice Sonya Sotomayor cited his University of Pennsylvania Law Review article in her dissent in Utah v. Strieff, 136 S. Ct. 2056, 2070 (2016). He teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and immigration, and is director of Clinical Legal Education. His efforts with students to repeal Jim Crow laws still on the books includes a successful 2003 petition to the Ohio legislature to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, 136 years after the state disapproved it during the ratification process. He and his students also achieved the repeal of anti-Asian alien land laws which were on the books in Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming. For this work, “A” Magazine named him one of the “25 Most Notable Asians in America.” In connection with classes with a practical component, he has tried felony cases and argued criminal appeals with his students. Chin earned a B.A. at Wesleyan University, a J.D. from the University of Michigan and an LL.M. from Yale Law School. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch in Denver and practiced with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and The Legal Aid Society of New York.


Christa Dierksheide
Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and History, University of Missouri
Senior Fellow, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello

Christa Dierksheide joined the University of Missouri faculty after two decades in Virginia, where she was most recently historian at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. Her first book, Amelioration and Empire: Progress and Slavery in Plantation America, 1770-1840 (University of Virginia Press, 2014), examined how planters embraced the European Enlightenment idea of “improvement” on New World plantations. She conceptualized and wrote exhibitions for Monticello, including “The Boisterous Sea of Liberty” and “The Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello,” and is also co-author of “Thomas Jefferson’s Worlds,” the introductory film. Dierksheide’s research focus is on Early America and Anglo-American imperialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in the political thought of Thomas Jefferson, race and slavery, and the legacy of the Founding generation. Dierksheide is currently working on two book projects—one that chronicles the rise of the 19th century American empire through the eyes of Jefferson’s grandchildren (under contract with Yale University Press) and a new book on Jefferson’s antislavery ideas (co-authored with Nicholas Guyatt). She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.


Jay Dow
Professor of Political Science
University of Missouri

Jay Dow’s research centers on voting and elections. His most recent interest in the development of election methods and processes, is reflected in Electing the House: The Adoption and Performance of the U.S. Single-Member District Electoral System (University Press of Kansas, 2017). His work has been widely published in political science journals, and he is currently working on a project on elections in the first party era (1790-1824) tentatively titled “The First Elections.” Dow received his B.S. from the University of Oregon and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.


Alec Ewald
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Vermont

Alec Ewald is a professor of political science at the University of Vermont where he teaches courses in constitutional law and American politics. Within public law, his current research focuses on voting rights, the institutions of suffrage, and criminal justice. He is author of The Way We Vote: The Local Dimension of American Suffrage (Vanderbilt University Press, 2009), and co-editor of Criminal Disenfranchisement in an International Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2009). His work on felony disenfranchisement and other collateral consequences of criminal convictions has been published in Publius, Justice System JournalWisconsin Law Review, and Columbia Human Rights Law Review. More broadly, his research interests include race and the law, American political development, and comparative courts.


Pippa Holloway
Professor of History
Middle Tennessee State University

Pippa Holloway is the author of Living In Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2013), which was funded in part with a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations. She is also the author of Sexuality, Politics, and Social Control in Virginia, 1920-1945 (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Her most recent article, “Testimonial Incapacity and Criminal Defendants in the South” is part of her current research on the history of equal access to witness testimony. She presently serves on the Committee on College and University Governance for the American Association of University Professors and is president of the Middle Tennessee State University Faculty Senate.


Pamela S. Karlan
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law
Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
Stanford Law School

Pamela Karlan’s primary scholarship involves constitutional litigation, particularly with respect to voting rights and antidiscrimination law. In addition to dozens of scholarly articles, she is the co-author of three leading casebooks. Karlan has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission and as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she received the department’s highest award for employee performance. In 2016, she was named one of the Politico 50 — a group of “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.” Earlier in her career, The American Lawyer named her to its “Public Sector 45” — a group of lawyers “actively using their law degrees to change lives.”


S. David Mitchell
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

David Mitchell is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on the criminal justice system, specifically collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, ex-offender reentry and restoration of rights, and voting disenfranchisement. His articles discuss the impact of collateral consequences on communities of color, zero tolerance policies, ex-offender reentry and the retroactive application of laws. He is a member of the American Law Institute, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has served as a law clerk to the Hon. Andre M. Davis, formerly of the U.S. District Court, and currently serves on the Missouri State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania with his dissertation entitled, “Unintended Consequences?: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Obstacles that Prevent Successful Ex-Offender Reentry and Reintegration and the Societal Impact.”


Myrna Pérez
Deputy Director
Brennan Center for Justice
New York University School of Law

Myrna Pérez is deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and leader of the center’s Voting Rights and Elections project. An expert on voting rights and election administration, she is the author of several nationally recognized reports and articles, and her work has been featured in media outlets across the country. She has testified before several state legislatures on a variety of voting rights related issues. She is a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School and has also served as an adjunct professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law. Pérez earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Yale University and obtained a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service. Prior to law school, she was a Presidential Management Fellow, serving as a policy analyst for the United States Government Accounting Office on a range of issues, including housing and health care. She graduated from Columbia Law School, where she was a Lowenstein Public Interest Fellow. Following law school, Pérez clerked for the Hon. Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for the Hon. Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She previously served as the chair of the Election Law Committee of the City of New York Bar Association.


Jennifer Selin
Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Political Science
University of Missouri

Jennifer L. Selin’s research explores how the administrative state functions in the American separation of powers system. Selin is the co-author of the Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies. Her scholarship has been published in political science, public administration, and law journals and has been utilized by the Obama and Trump administrations, U.S. Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the media. A proud graduate of Lebanon Valley College, Selin holds a J.D. from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining academia, she practiced administrative law and specialized in federal electricity market regulation and alternative energy development, licensing, and regulation.


Rogers Smith
Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science
President, American Political Science Association
University of Pennsylvania

Rogers M. Smith is the author or co-author of many articles and seven books, including Political Peoplehood (2015), Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America with Desmond S. King (2011), Stories of Peoplehood: The Politics and Morals of Political Membership (2003), and Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (1997). Civic Ideals received six best book prizes from four professional associations and was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. Smith was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004, the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2011, and the American Philosophical Society in 2016. He is currently president of the American Political Science Association.


Emily Rong Zhang
J.D., Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science
Stanford University

Emily Rong Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Stanford University. Her research, published in law journals, explores voting rights and elections. Zhang’s research agenda includes the exploration of voting rights restoration regimes. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, her J.D. from Stanford Law School, and has served as the Skadden Fellow with the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.