Colloquium on the Constitution and the Imagining of America

Intergenerational Justice: What We Owe to the Future”  


Amherst College

Dec. 5-6, 2014  (Fri. & Sat)


Friday, Dec. 5

3:30 p.m. Welcome - The Lord Jeffery Inn - Samuel Ballroom

Prof.  Vanessa Walker, History, Amherst College


4:00-5:30 p.m. Session I - The Lord Jeffery Inn, Samuel Ballroom

Moderator: Prof.  Andrew Poe, Political Science, Amherst College


“Equitable and Quality Public Education: The Future Challenge”

Cynthia Brown, Center for American Progress


5:45 p.m. Reception and Dinner in the Emily Ballroom, The Lord Jeffery Inn (By INVITATION ONLY)

Introduction: Prof. Austin Sarat, Political Science and Jurisprudence,  Amherst College


“Civil Rights and Education: Building on Legacy, Delivery for our Future”

Catherine E. Lhamon '93, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education


Saturday, Dec. 6


9:00-10:30 a.m. Session II - The Lord Jeffery Inn - Samuel Ballroom


Moderator:  Prof. Christopher Dole, Anthropology & Sociology, Amherst College


"Children are Our Future:  Use of Litigation to Change the Future"


Chris Hansen, former ACLU Attorney


10:30-11:00 a.m. Break


11:00-12:30 p.m. Session III - The Lord Jeffery Inn - Samuel Ballroom

Moderator:  Prof. Catherine Ciepiela, Russian, Amherst College

"Child Labor in the U.S. : Ending a Dangerous Legacy, Protecting the Next Generation"

Zama Coursen -Neff, Human Rights Watch


12:30 - 2:00 p.m.  - The Lord Jeffery Inn - Webster Ballroom

Moderator: Prof. Austin Sarat, Political Science & Jurisprudence, Amherst College

Lunch and Roundtable on Intergenerational Justice:  What We Owe to the Future”  


Cynthia Brown, Center for American Progress

 Zama Coursen-Neff, Human Rights Watch
Chris Hansen, Attorney, formerly with the ACLU
Catherine E. Lhamon '93, U.S. Department of Education

Speaker Bios:

Cynthia G. Brown is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. She was previously the Vice President for Education Policy at American Progress and formerly served as director of the “Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future National Task Force on Public Education,” a joint initiative of the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America’s Future. Brown has spent more than 35 years working in a variety of professional positions addressing high-quality, equitable public education.

Prior to joining American Progress, she was an independent education consultant who advised and wrote for local and state school systems, education associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and a corporation. From 1986 through September 2001, Brown served as director of the Resource Center on Educational Equity of the Council of Chief State School Officers. In 1980 she was appointed by President Carter as the first assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that position, she served as principal deputy of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s Office for Civil Rights. Subsequent to this government service, she was co-director of the nonprofit Equality Center. Before the Carter administration, she worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Children’s Defense Fund, and began her career in the HEW Office for Civil Rights as an investigator.

Zama Coursen-Neff directs Human Rights Watch's children's rights division, where she leads the organization’s work on children’s rights. Coursen-Neff has conducted numerous fact-finding investigations and authored reports and articles on a range of issues affecting children, including "Fields of Peril: Child Labor in US Agriculture." She has published on op-ed pages in major international and US publications and speaks regularly to the media. During a sabbatical in 2006/2007, she ran a protection monitoring team for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Sri Lanka. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 1999, Coursen-Neff clerked for a US federal judge, advocated on behalf of immigrants and refugees in the US, and worked with community development and women's organizations in Honduras. She is a graduate of Davidson College and New York University School of Law where she was a Root, Tilden, Snow Public Interest Scholar.


Chris Hansen was a civil liberties lawyer for over thirty-five years, arguing cases in the United States Supreme Court and federal and state courts all over the country.  His most prominent cases include the effort to reform Willowbrook, a New York State institution for mentally retarded citizens (NYSARC v. Carey); the remedy phase of the original school desegregation case (Brown v. Board of Education); and a series of cases seeking reform of state or county child welfare agencies.  Mr. Hansen led the ACLU’s multi-year litigation effort to ensure that the strongest free speech protections apply to the new communications medium of the Internet.  He also represented medical associations and scientists in the successful effort to invalidate patents on human genes.  Mr. Hansen is now retired.


Catherine E. Lhamon’93 is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Lhamon's 17-year track record of success has earned her repeat accolades as one of California's top women lawyers, and as a lawyer of the year for civil rights. She was also named one of California's Top 20 Lawyers Under 40 in 2007. Immediately prior to coming to the Department of Education, Ms. Lhamon was the Director of Impact Litigation at Public Counsel, which is the nation's largest pro bono law firm. Before coming to Public Counsel, Ms. Lhamon practiced for a decade at the ACLU of Southern California, ultimately as Assistant Legal Director. Before then, Ms. Lhamon was a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center after clerking for The Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was The Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, and graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College.





Democracy, the Mass Media, and Political Polarization: Wither Constitutional Government.