McGeorge School of Law

Voting Rights Subject of Faculty Student Engagement Series l McGeorge

November 7, 2016

Professors Mary-Beth Moylan, Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Brian Landsberg and John Sims.

Professors Mary-Beth Moylan, Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Brian Landsberg and John Sims.

The 2016 fall semester faculty and student engagement series, Cookies & Conversation presented "Voting Rights and Restrictions, Back Then and Right Now" on Nov. 1, as well as "Black and Blue: Building Trust in the Age of Black Lives Matter" on Oct. 13.

The speakers for the voting rights event were McGeorge Professors Brian Landsberg, Mary-Beth Moylan, and John Sims. Professor Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Director of the McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy, moderated the discussion.

The faculty experts presented how the Voting Rights Act got rid of Jim Crow-era restrictions like poll taxes and literacy tests. They discussed how now states are imposing new types of restrictions such as voter ID rules; limited polling days, hours and places; removing the vote forever for felons; and bans on straight party voting. The attendees learned about the disputes and court decisions back then and right now, a week before Election Day, and how the eight-Justice Supreme Court, without Justice Scalia, may be looking at the restrictions more carefully.

Professor Raquel Aldana, Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, moderated the Oct. 13 discussion about how recent killings of unarmed blacks and dedicated police officers have ignited protests and vigils around the country. From Baton Rouge to Dallas to Charlotte, communities are coming together to demand both peace and justice. The NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and the White House have proposed fixes to American policing.

The panelists explored how such national policy platforms become meaningful local action and what reforms could improve the relationships between police and communities in Oak Park and Sacramento. The distinguished panelists were Rick Braziel, Inspector General of Sacramento County, former Chief of Police, Sacramento Police Department; Joany Titherington, founding and current Board Member of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association; Rosalynn Van Buren, Sacramento Community Police Commission; Major Ret. Kenneth Jones, U.S. Army, Lieutenant Ret. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Department, Louisiana; and Stephen Cody, Visiting Assistant Professor at McGeorge.

Professor Aldana organized both events in the series as a joint initiative with the University of the Pacific Library. The office of Admissions & Diversity Initiatives and the McGeorge Black Law Student Association (BLSA) were co-sponsors.