Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Candidate Statement: Jeff Penn

Members of the American Constitution Society,

My name is Jeffrey Penn and I would like to be considered for the position of 3L Representative to the board of ACS for the 2006-2007 school year. I have distinguished myself this year as the chairperson of the Black Law Students Association and as the Columbia Law School Coordinator for IMPACT, the law school’s voting rights advocacy organization. Because of these obligations, I was not as active with ACS as I intend to be next year. (For example, BLSA and ACS meetings ran concurrently with only one or two exceptions; thus my absence from most meetings.) I was able to attend this year’s ACS Convention in Cambridge, Massachusetts and found the experience to be inspiring.

Why should you choose me to represent a third of the law school when I was unable to attend all but one ACS meeting all year, and only a handful of the many lectures and panels held by ACS? I think the answer is that 3L year is the time when many students “check out” of on-campus activities, choosing instead to focus on their broader career goals or to get in some last minute recreation before the real work begins. ACS will need somebody who is connected to a broad cross-section of the 3L class in order to argue convincingly and personally that the organization’s programming is vital to understanding the changing legal landscape, that lectures and panels are frequently attended by practitioners that are valuable networking resources, regardless of whether your career trajectory includes academic, government, public interest, or private practice work, and that the time is past when lawyers can work without an ideological valence.

The Constitution is being interpreted in frighteningly undemocratic and retrogressive ways and it is important that law students be vigilant to these changes so that we will be prepared to reverse the process through our scholarship and our activism. I am committed to being the 3L interface from ACS to CLS and appreciate your consideration. Thank You.

"The great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others." James Madison, Federalist 51

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