Civil Rights and Social Justice

Join Us. Whatever your area of specialization, CRSJ has a place for you. The Section fulfills our role by: Raising and addressing often complex and difficult civil rights and civil liberties issues in a changing and diverse society; and Ensuring that protection of individual rights remains a focus of legal and policy decisions.

Submit a Nomination for 2020 Today!

Do you know an exceptional individual who has dedicated him/herself to the fight for civil and human rights? Nominations for the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award are now open. Submissions are open until Tuesday, October 1, 2019.

See - Instructions

CRSJ Annual Meeting Follow-Up

For hundreds of legal professionals, the Section held various governance meetings; offered seven hot-topic programs; hosted a Leadership Luncheon, where elections were held and the gavel passed to new leadership; and hosted a successful Award Dinner honoring Congressman John Lewis, featuring a performance by Grammy-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens.

Congressman John Lewis Receives Thurgood Marshall Award

During the 2019 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Congressman John Lewis received the Section's annual Thurgood Marshall Award. The first non-lawyer to receive the award, which honors those who contribute to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights, the U.S. representative from Georgia’s 5th congressional district said he had been arrested 40 times during the 1960s, plus another five times as a member of Congress.

About - the Award

Statement on the Passing of Norman Lefstein

Statement on the Passing of Norman Lefstein

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, the ABA Criminal Justice Section and the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice join together to mourn the passing of Norman Lefstein, who died in Indianapolis, IN on August 29, 2019.

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Passage of the Section's Basic Income Resolution

On the Passing of Justice Stevens

On the Passing of Justice Stevens


Yesterday we lost a beacon of justice who sadly seems almost an anachronism today: learned and committed to learning and growing on the job, kind and courteous to all, classy, nuanced and non-partisan in expression, and ever thoughtful and principled.

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Human Rights Magazine

Human Rights Magazine

Volume 44, Issue 1

Black to the Future in an America Still in the Shadow of its Shameful Past. The current political context presents us with a promising opportunity. That premise may seem remarkable, even ridiculous. But the fortuity is real. We are at a very American racial crossroads, yet again.

Read - the latest issue

Join Us

Whatever your area of specialization, CRSJ has a place for you. By joining us today, you can help ensure that the world’s largest voluntary professional association continues to uphold the Bill of Rights and the ideals it embodies.

Call for Human Rights Editorial Board Members

The Civil Rights and Social Justice Section’s flagship publication, Human Rights magazine, is seeking editorial board members.

If you are interested in helping shape future issues of Human Rights magazine, please contact Editor Melissa Hodek at for details.

The Latest Issue:
The Ongoing Challenge to Define Free Speech

Section Initiatives

In the 2017-18 bar year, the Section partnered with the Presidential Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System, appointed by Hilarie Bass, past President of the ABA (2017-2018) and chaired by Robert N. Weiner, former Chair of the Section, to prepare these guidelines, which were adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2018.


Over the past five decades, the Section and its members have worked on hundreds of issues addressing a broad range of civil rights, civil liberties, and international human rights. Today, the Section continues to promote policies affecting religious freedom, LGBT rights, gender equity, and other significant civil rights issues. Your gift will help make our efforts possible for the next fifty years!