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RightsWatch: Voting Rights

The RightsWatch Series began in Spring 2017 and continues in Fall 2017. On November 2, we’ll hold a discussion about law, history, and advocacy surrounding voting rights in the United States and in North Carolina. Panelists include Duke Law professor Guy-Uriel Charles, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch, and Emily Seawell of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

Over the next four years, we are likely to witness dramatic changes in how the US government sees and treats fundamental rights. RightsWatch seeks to bring Duke scholars and activists in conversation about the rights debates that will shape the future. These panels are designed to comment on a fast-moving political scene while at the same time engaging in civil – and deeply civic – conversation.

This will be live streamed from the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI Facebook page. Please post questions in the comment section of the live stream post.

Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center @ the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

Light lunch served



Guy-Uriel Charles, Duke Law School

Guy-Uriel Charlies is the Edward and Ellen Marie Schwarzman Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at Duke Law. Professor Charles is the founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics. He is an expert in and frequent public commentator on constitutional law, election law, campaign finance, redistricting, politics, and race. He joined Duke Law’s faculty in 2009; he previously was the Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Professor Charles is co-founder of the Colored Demos blog, coloreddemos.blogspot.com, and a reviewer for Stanford University Press, University of Chicago Press, and NYU Press. He has published articles in Constitutional Commentary, The Michigan Law Review, The Michigan Journal of Race and Law, The Georgetown Law Journal, The Journal of Politics, The California Law Review, The North Carolina Law Review, and others.

Professor Charles received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School and clerked for The Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While at the University of Michigan, he was the founder and first editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.


Rob Schofield, NC Policy Watch

Rob Schofield is the Director of Research at NC Policy Watch – a special news and commentary project of the North Carolina Justice Center. He joined the project in 2006 and has more than three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and trainer.

At Policy Watch, Rob conducts research, authors weekly online columns, writes and edits frequent opinion pieces, blog posts and social media entries, helps manage the Policy Watch website and blog, speaks to various civic groups, appears regularly on TV and radio, and helps build and support progressive nonprofits.

From 1992 to 2005, Rob worked as an attorney at the Justice Center – where he helped build the organization from a small Legal Services office into the state’s leading anti-poverty advocacy group. His career has also included stints with the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and a Washington, DC-based farmworker rights group, the Migrant Legal Action Program.

Rob is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Emily Seawell, Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Emily Seawell is a voting rights staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a nonpartisan nonprofit law firm in Durham. As a staff attorney, she has been involved in recent litigation challenging voter suppression and redistricting laws in North Carolina and across the South on behalf of clients including the NAACP, League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and A. Philip Randolph Institute. Her office was deeply involved in the recent legal victory in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, which struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law and restored same-day voter registration, out-of-precinct voting, pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and a week of early voting. Her office also represents plaintiffs in Covington v. North Carolina, which struck down 28 state legislative districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders and led to court-ordered redistricting in North Carolina in August 2017. Emily received her law degree from Elon University and is originally from Gastonia, North Carolina, which is just west of Charlotte.



November 2, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


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