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October 04, 2023 CHAIR COLUMN

October CRSJ Chair's Column

October brings First Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

I am excited to be continuing our Chair Chat feature for the Section, with two each month. Once a month I will interview someone and for the second Chair Chat each month, another Section leader will conduct a conversation with an esteemed guest on key legal issues. We kicked it off in September with a conversation I had with Ainka Jackson, the founding Executive Director of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation. Ainka is also a Special Advisor to the Section and served as a member of the Thurgood Marshall Award Nominations Committee this year. Ainka is a remarkable leader in her community, and I hope you will listen to our discussion about her amazing work in her community. Also, in September, past Section Chair Professor Stephen Wermiel interviewed Professor Geoffrey R. Stone for the second Chair Chat of the month on the Current Importance of Free Speech and Free Press. 

In October, in recognition of First Monday and in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in my Chair Chat I will be discussing one of the key cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court this term regarding the constitutionality of law prohibiting people subject to a domestic violence protection order or restraining order from owning firearms, U.S. v. Rahimi with Julia Weber, a nationally recognized expert on this issue who was involved in the submission of an amicus brief in the case.  For the second Chair Chat of the month of October, longtime Section leader and Special Advisor, Drucilla Ramey will be interviewing her daughter, Jessica Stender, Policy Director & Deputy Legal Director, Equal Rights Advocates about some of the amazing legislative successes she has been a part of on behalf of women’s rights in employment in California.

Also, in October, the Section will be hosting our Fall business on Friday, October 20.  It will be hybrid, graciously hosted by Section Leader, Jason Abel and his firm Steptoe. We hope you will be able to join us in person or virtually (RSVP here).

Finally, it is my privilege to announce that this year’s recipient of the Section’s Father Robert F. Drinan Award will be Drucilla Ramey.  Named after Father Drinan, a past Chair of the Section, Dru embodies the values of this award which “recognizes individuals whose sustained and extraordinary commitment has advanced the Section’s mission of providing leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties, and social justice.” She has worked tirelessly throughout her career to advance social justice and human rights and serves as a model for many young lawyers, demonstrating how to use a law degree to further civil rights. In multiple leadership positions including executive director of the San Francisco Bar Association and the National Association of Women Judges and Dean of Golden Gate University Law School. She has also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Equal Rights Advocates, the ACLU of Northern California and the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. Moreover, she co-founded and served on the board of California Women Lawyers, the California Minority Council Program and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. We are thrilled to be honoring Dru in February 2024, at a virtual reception held in conjunction with the CRSJ Mid-Year Meeting, the week before the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

Robin R. Runge

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, 2023-24 Chair

Robin R. Runge is the 2023-24 Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Currently, she is a Consultant and Distinguished Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University School of Law.