Name: Thomas Harding
Phone: (212) 853-0378
Position(s) Desired: Vice President, Practitioner Relationships
Statement of Interest (1-2 pages):
Please address the following two questions in your statement:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the ACS Board?
2. As a board member, what ideas for programming would you like to implement next year?
I am a liberal, and while I can vent fire from my heart and clamor my lungs, I will say so proudly. Ours is not a creed we hold alone, but it is something which all people could say with equal conviction and fervor. It is the fact I am certain the goals we pursue are goals fundamentally common to all that makes this the good fight and makes our eventual victory self-evident: “the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”
To me, being a liberal means imagining a world in which discrimination never existed and uprooting the devices that impede us from living out that noble dream. It is not a Utopia that we pursue but an acknowledgment that the mythical past to which some in our society seek to revert never existed. Our destiny lies before us rather than behind. I think liberalism combines a blindness to the happenstance that divide us while actively trying to raise up society’s lowest members first. Part of our agenda is to maintain the ground we have won, but the aims of social justice must not be content until a broad equality of sexual identity is legally recognized, and the retributive impulse that makes our nation shamefully the global center of capital punishment and mass imprisonment is finally quelled.
The ideals underlying liberalism will not prevent us from harnessing every means available to win back the reigns of power. I don’t believe that this good fight of ours should prevent us from realizing that it is an increasingly ugly fight. They are scheming how to beat us, and we must counter-scheme. We will not manipulate people’s fear, but we must make them believe. The struggle is tireless, and it is dirty: fight them on the mountains, and fight them on the beaches; take them to the trenches, and never let go.
I will continue to help in whatever capacity I can, whether or not elected to the ACS board, but the position in which I am most interested is Vice President of Practitioner Relationships. It is the weakness of organization, both internal and external, that has continually hampered the thriving spirit of liberalism. Building the scaffolding between Columbia, other law schools and like-minded members of the legal community will provide the foundation on which our other goals depend. Inviting more progressive judges and lawyers to speak on behalf of the organization, participating more publicly in events around New York and developing a stronger relationship with the NYU chapter of ACS will all help increase our visibility in the legal community. I truly believe that these ties must be sought out, and there are judges and lawyers in the greater community who desire stronger bonds to progressive law students. There is no reason why we should not be able to provide our upcoming members with some assurance that we will help them get clerkships, and judges will be interested in seeing American Constitution Society on their resumes. There is nothing contrary to liberalism about pursuing a high level of organization, and if we build it, they will come.
If unelected, I will help honestly and ardently in whatever way I can, but I hope to participate as actively as possible in ACS next year and will do my very best to benefit this organization if allowed.