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2018-19 Barrett Lecture: Challenging Family Separation in the Courts

Friday, October 05, 2018,

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  • Location: Vanderbilt Law School • 131 21st Ave South • Nashville, TN 37203
  • Room: Moore Room

Lee GelerntPlease join the George Barrett Social Justice Program in welcoming Lee Gelernt as the 2018-19 Barrett Lecturer. Mr. Gelernt is the lead attorney for the families in the Ms. L litigation in San Diego challenging the federal government’s practice of forcibly separating parents and children at the border.  He will speak about this high-profile ongoing civil rights litigation, which resulted in the district court’s June 2018 issuance of a nationwide injunction prohibiting the federal government from separating migrant and asylum-seeking families at the border and requiring reunification of separated families.

Lee Gelernt is the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and director of the Project’s Access to the Courts Program. He has been a civil rights litigator for 25 years. During the past 18 months, he has argued several groundbreaking challenges to Trump Administration policies, and successfully argued the first case challenging the President’s travel ban on individuals from certain Muslim-majority nations, which resulted in a federal court in Brooklyn issuing a nationwide Saturday night injunction against the ban one day after the President enacted it and 8 days after his inauguration.

Gelernt is currently litigating a national class action involving the Trump Administration’s unprecedented practice of separating immigrant families at the border. On June 26, 2018, a federal court in San Diego issued an injunction holding the practice unconstitutional and requiring the Administration to reunite the approximately 2,600 separated families.

The Barrett Lecture, along with the Social Justice Program, was named, endowed and expanded in honor of George Barrett ’57 in August 2015. “Citizen George,” as he was widely known, was a civil rights pioneer. He represented student protesters in the Nashville sit-in movement, labor unions working to protect workers’ rights, and shareholders and consumers wronged by corporate malfeasance. He was best known for leading a decades-long and ultimately successful legal battle to desegregate Tennessee’s public institutions of higher learning.

Visitors should park in the Terrace Place Garage, spaces 41-92, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Terrace Place, or the Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Scarritt Place.  Parking costs range from $4.00 to $12.00 at these garages.  Both are within walking distance of the law school.