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.

2019-20 Section Chair Wendy Mariner

2019-20 Section Chair Wendy K. Mariner pens her final column of the bar year, focusing on the year so far, and what lays ahead. She notes that lawyers should, "harness the momentum for change to fulfill the ideals of the legal profession."


See - the Chair's Message

2020 Section Annual Meeting

During the first-ever virtual Annual Meeting, the Section honored prodigious activist Marian Wright Edelman with the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award. The Section also continued its work on voter rights and election protection, organizing a Showcase CLE on Women in Elections. In addition, the Section held two days of governance meetings and sponsored a record-breaking number of policies adopted by the House of Delegates.

About - the Meeting

Death Penalty Virtual CLE Series

The Death Penalty Due Process Review Project has developed a three-part CLE webinar series exploring the fundamental issues in using the death penalty, how the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, and recent legal developments in death penalty legislation. In these free CLE webinars, panelists will explore the intricacies of the death penalty, identifying certain elements as barricades in our collective pursuit of advancing law and justice.

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Statement on the Passing of Congressman John Lewis

We deeply mourn the death of Congressman John Lewis, civil rights icon and conscience of the United States Congress. Whether on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in the streets of Atlanta, or in the halls of Congress, his peaceful protests against injustice inspired a nation to live up to its ideals. He honored us by accepting the 2019 Thurgood Marshall Award. Let us always honor him and the generation of civil rights heroes who stood fast for freedom and equality in the face of ignorance, oppression, and greed. John Lewis taught us the meaning of real democracy and how to make “good trouble” to achieve it. We carry the lessons in our hearts. We will live his legacy in our words and actions.

2020 Thurgood Marshall Award Celebration

On July 31, the Section honored founder and president emerita of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Marian Wright Edelman with the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award. Under her leadership as president for 45 years, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. Additional details about the Award Celebration are forthcoming.

About the 2020 Recipient of the ABA Thurgood Marshall Award

About - the Award

Thank you to our Sponsors!

The Section deeply thanks all of our sponsors of the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award Celebration. The first-ever virtual Celebration was a monumental success and featured remarks from the esteemed recipient and a conversation on justice and equity between Marian Wright Edelman and Valerie Jarrett. Your generosity allows us to continue our work, including expanded programming and publications in response to COVID-19 highlighting the effects of the pandemic on civil rights and social justice, on elections in particular, and on the fundamental causes of inequality. CRSJ pays every gift forward by giving the legal profession and advocacy community the tools to make positive change.

See the - 2020 Sponsors

Human Rights Magazine - New Issue Available!

Volume 45, No. 3

This being an election year, Human Rights magazine is devoting two full issues to voting rights. The first included articles on voter registration, problems facing Native American voters, voter roll purges, the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, and racial gerrymandering. This volume features articles on redistricting, voting by disabled persons, voting on college campuses, cybersecurity, campaign finance, and many others. Together, these two issues of Human Rights provide a great tutorial on current issues in voting rights and election administration—subjects that have gained widespread public attention in recent years. Since our first issue on voting rights, a new challenge has emerged: how to conduct elections in the midst of a public health emergency.

Read - the latest issue

Statement from the Officers of the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice stands with those demanding justice for the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others in a long history of lethal violence against African Americans dating back more than 400 years.

Read - More

Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice & NYU Review of Law & Social Change Joint Online Symposium is Available Now!

ABA Immigration Symposium Issue

This collection of articles and event panel transcripts arose from the six-part Immigration Webinar Series hosted by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice's Rights of Immigrants Committee from November 2019 to April 2020. The webinar series explored immigration at the intersection of national security law, public international law and U.S. constitutional law, among other areas.

Learn - More

Children's Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman to Receive 2020 Award

Virtual Celebration Scheduled

The Section will honor founder and president emerita of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Marian Wright Edelman with the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award. Under her leadership as president for 45 years, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The virtual celebration honoring Mrs. Edelman will take place on Friday, July 31 at 4:30 p.m. CT during the Annual Meeting.

About - the 2020 Award

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.


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!