Dean Gerken Named to ABA Task Force for American Democracy


Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken has been appointed to the American Bar Association (ABA)’s newly created Task Force for American Democracy.

“American democracy is under threat and lawyers are stepping up to ensure our democracy endures,” the ABA said in a statement announcing the Task Force released today.

“Our democracy is in peril,” said Mary Smith, the newly elected president of the ABA. “Attempts to overturn election results, the politicization of election processes, and threats to election administrators and election officials have shown the necessity for the bar, the business community, and all Americans to act to fortify our democracy. The nation’s over 1.3 million attorneys represented by the ABA have a special obligation and responsibility to step up and speak out in defense and support of our imperiled democracy.”

Members of the task force are politically diverse, with expertise in government, democracy, and the rule of law, the ABA said.

Former Judge J. Michael Luttig, who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will co-chair the Task Force. As part of its mission, the Task Force will host listening tours, public conversations, and smaller discussions “with a broad spectrum of Americans to hear their concerns, experiences, and suggestions for restoring and preserving our democracy,” according to the announcement.

The Task Force plans to issue a report with its findings and begin acting on recommendations next August at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Read the full announcement at the ABA.

Dean Heather K. Gerken is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional law and election law. A founder of the “nationalist school” of federalism, her work focuses on federalism, diversity, and dissent.

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.