ACLU National Legal Director to Discuss “Defending Liberty in the Trump Era” at 40th Annual McCormick Lecture

Aug. 31, 2020

David Colethe national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown Law, will deliver the 40th annual McCormick Lecture virtually on Sept. 14, 2020. The event is sponsored by the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, the J. Byron McCormick Society for Law and Public Affairs, and the William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government. 

Cole will share reflections on civil society responses to Trump Administration actions and policies. He will discuss the ACLU’s ongoing litigation in the areas of racial justice, LGBTQ equality, immigrants’ rights, abortion access, voter protection and others. He will also reflect more broadly on the role of the ACLU and civil society as a bulwark for liberty.   

Event: We’ll See You in Court: Defending Liberty in the Trump Era with David Cole, moderated by University of Arizona Law professor Eunice Lee 

When: Monday, Sept. 14, 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

Who may attend: This event is free and open to the public.  

Background: Cole writes regularly for the New York Review of Books and is legal affairs correspondent for The Nation. He has published many books, including No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System and Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed. 

Cole has litigated many constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including Texas v. Johnsonand United States v. Eichman, which extended First Amendment protection to flag burning; Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the ACLU represented a gay couple refused service by a bakery because they sought a cake to celebrate their wedding; and Bostock v. Clayton Countywhich established that Title VII bans discrimination on the basis of transgender status and sexual orientation.    

The late New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis called Cole “one of the country’s great legal voices for civil liberties today,” and the late Nat Hentoff called him “a one-man Committee of Correspondence in the tradition of patriot Sam Adams.” Cole has received two honorary degrees and many awards for his civil liberties and human rights work, including the inaugural Norman Dorsen Presidential Prize from the ACLU, awarded to an academic for lifetime commitment to civil liberties. 

The McCormick Society was formed to honor the memory of J. Byron McCormick, who served Arizona with distinction as president of the University of Arizona, as dean of the College of Law, and as an advisor to the Arizona Board of Regents. Members of the McCormick Society foster dialogue about the critical issues of our time through an annual public lecture. 

The William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government honors the legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist by encouraging public understanding of the structural constitutional themes that were integral to his jurisprudence: the separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government, the balance of powers between the federal and state governments and among sovereigns more generally, and judicial independence.  


Event Contact: Bernadette Wilkinson, senior program coordinator, James E. Rogers College of Law, bwilkins@email.arizona.edu, 520-626-1629.