Professor Edelman Named Board Chair of the American Constitution Society

January 23, 2012 —

Peter Edelman Peter Edelman

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Georgetown University Law Center Professor Peter Edelman has been named chair of the board of directors of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS).

Highly regarded as a longtime advocate for the underprivileged and disadvantaged youth, Edelman said that in his new role, he hopes to engage young people about how the law can improve people's everyday lives. "What we want to do is promote a conversation - the idea of what a progressive perspective of the Constitution is and what it means for the country," Edelman told the Blog of Legal Times.

Edelman, who succeeds University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone as ACS board chair, has been a member of the ACS board since 2009.

He has an extensive public interest background and is an expert in poverty, welfare, juvenile justice and constitutional law. In 1982, he joined the Georgetown Law faculty. He teaches constitutional law, federal legislation, public interest lawyering and social welfare law and policy. He took leave from the Law Center during President Clinton’s first term to serve as counselor to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.

Edelman served as director of the New York State Division of Youth and as vice president of the University of Massachusetts. He was a legislative assistant to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and issues director for Sen. Edward Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980. He was also a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and worked in the U.S. Justice Department as special assistant to Attorney General John Douglas.

He is the author of Searching for America’s Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), and the co-author of Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men (Urban Institute Press, 2006). His forthcoming book, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America (New Press, 2012), will be published later this year. He has written numerous articles on poverty, constitutional law, children and youth, and has received numerous honors and awards for his work. His Atlantic Monthly article, "The Worst Thing That Bill Clinton Has Done," earned him the Harry Chapin Media Award in 1997. He was the recipient of the Wiley A. Branton Award from the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in 2000. In 2005, Edelman was honored with the William J. Brennan Jr. Award for his commitment to public service and equal justice. The Council for Court Excellence presented him the Justice Potter Stewart Award in 2011.

Edelman is currently chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission; board chair of the Public Welfare Foundation; board president of the National Center for Youth Law; board president emeritus of the New Israel Fund; and board member of the Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund and several other organizations. He has been a U.S. - Japan Leadership Program Fellow, as well as a J. Skelly Wright Memorial Fellow at Yale Law School.

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