B.A., University of Pennsylvania; M.P.P., Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; J.D., University of Chicago Law School
Kelsi Brown Corkran is the Supreme Court Director at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a Senior Lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Corkran joined ICAP in 2021 to expand its Supreme Court practice in response to the growing need for dedicated public interest litigators with specialized expertise in defending constitutional rights before the nation’s highest court.
An important component of Professor Corkran’s practice is preserving favorable civil rights and criminal justice decisions issued by the federal courts of appeals. Over the past two terms, she and the ICAP team have defeated cert petitions seeking reversal of civil rights victories involving issues ranging from the scope of section 1983’s remedies for fatal excessive police force to the liability standard for Title IX teacher-student sexual harassment to the standard of care for juvenile immigration detainees.
Professor Corkran served as lead counsel in two of the most significant civil rights victories before the Supreme Court during the 2020 term: Torres v. Madrid, in which the Court reversed a lower court decision holding that the victim of a police shooting is deprived of protection under the Fourth Amendment if the police are not immediately successful in apprehending her, and Taylor v. Riojas, a challenge to inhumane prison conditions that marked the first time in 16 years that the Court denied qualified immunity to a government officer. In 2018, Professor Corkran successfully argued before the Court on behalf of the plaintiff in City of Hays v. Vogt, a civil rights suit asserting violations of the Fifth Amendment’s Self-Incrimination Clause. She has also argued over 30 cases in the courts of appeals, including 12 of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals and the en banc Ninth Circuit.
Immediately prior to joining ICAP, Professor Corkran was the Head of the Supreme Court Practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She previously served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Among other positions, she was as an attorney with the Civil Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice and in the Communications Office of the White House’s Executive Office of the President, where she assisted with judicial nominations, including the confirmation hearings of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Before law school, she was a social worker in Philadelphia’s foster care system.
Professor Corkran is a member of the American Law Institute, the Board of Directors for the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures. She previously served on the Supreme Court Practitioners’ Committee for the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. and M.P.P. from the University of Chicago.