Kicking off a year of events centered on the theme of “defending democracy,” UCLA School of Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy welcomed ACLU Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho for a three-day residency during the week of Sept. 23. As the Fall 2019 Margaret Levy Public Interest Fellow, Ho offered an inspiring view into the role that public interest lawyers play in contemporary society. He spoke to students, faculty and staff in a variety of forums that delved into the national state of voting rights and the work that Ho and his colleagues do to fight voter suppression.
At a lecture on Sept. 23, Ho discussed “New Threats to the Right to Vote: Fighting Voter Suppression over the Past Decade,” illuminating how racism undergirds efforts to prevent millions of Americans from communities of color from exercising their voting rights. Before a standing-room-only audience, Ho traced the long history of laws and policies that led to a notable rise in voter suppression after the 2008 election. “We have to be clear that this is just the latest chapter in a struggle that’s been ongoing since the founding,” Ho said.
Also on Sept. 23, Ho joined a panel including UCLA Law professors Jennifer Chacón, Adam Winkler and Eugene Volokh and Williams Institute executive director Jocelyn Samuels at Whither the Court: The Allan C. Lebow Annual Supreme Court Review. Among the Supreme Court matters on the agenda were the case of Department of Commerce v. New York, in which Ho and his ACLU colleagues successfully appealed the Trump administration’s plans to add a citizenship question to the Census.
Ho then participated in a community reception and panel, “Defending Our Democracy: From Census to Voting and Beyond,” on Sept. 25 in downtown Los Angeles. Joining him in conversation were Kathay Feng ’96, the national redistricting director of Common Cause; Rosalind Gold, chief public policy officer of NALEO Educational Fund; and Steve Reyes ’97, chief counsel to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
In smaller settings during his Levy Fellowship residency, Ho offered individual career counseling sessions to students and delivered a presentation on careers in civil rights litigation.
Inaugurated in 2018, the Margaret Levy Public Interest Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of UCLA Law alumna Margaret Levy ’75.