Lani Guinier to headline Law School forumScholars to analyze U.S. voting rights, elections Lani Guinier, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the keynote speaker of the University of Chicago Legal Forum's 10th annual symposium, "Voting Rights and Elections." Guinier will present "A Dialogue on Issues of Race in America" at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in the Law School auditorium.
The two-day symposium will feature legal experts and public-policy specialists critically analyzing U.S. voting rights as those rights pertain to race, redistricting, campaign financing and alternative voting methods.
Three panel discussions, featuring experts from Chicago and around the country, are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5: "Race and Redistricting" at 9:30 a.m., "Financing of Campaigns" at 11:15 a.m. and "Alternative Voting Regimes" at 2:15 p.m. John Schmidt, U.S. associate attorney general, will present the closing address, "The Constitution and the Political Process," at 4 p.m.
"This year's symposium has something for anyone interested in the political process," said Clinton Pinyan, a third-year law student and a Legal Forum editor. "Lani Guinier is on the cutting edge of legal scholarship and is in extremely high demand, while John Schmidt holds the No. 3 position at the Department of Justice and will be instrumental in shaping civil-rights and voting-rights law. In addition, we will have the leading scholars and practitioners involved in all aspects of election law, politics and government."
Guinier received national attention when President Clinton withdrew her 1993 nomination to the position of assistant attorney general for the civil-rights division of the Justice Department. Since then, she has spoken at colleges and universities around the country, written editorial pieces for the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post and been featured in numerous publications and television news programs. Her recent book, The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy (1994), is the latest in a long list of works on voting rights and governmental structure.
Before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1992, Guinier was assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She also served as special assistant in the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice from 1977 to 1981.
Schmidt, who was appointed associate attorney general by Clinton in July, oversees several divisions of the Department of Justice, including the civil rights, antitrust, tax, and environment and natural resources divisions. He previously was ambassador and chief U.S. negotiator for the Uruguay round of world trade talks under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
A former senior partner at the Chicago law office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, he was a founding member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a reform bar association, and served as its president from 1974 to 1976. In 1978, Schmidt founded the Chicago Lawyer, an investigative and reform-oriented legal publication.
The Legal Forum is a student-edited Law School journal published annually on a topic of legal interest. Each volume of the Legal Forum contains articles written by symposium participants as well as student comments. The Forum has approximately 20 second-year law students on staff and a 12-member board of third-year students. The staff is chosen through a writing competition.
The Legal Forum symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call 702-9832.