Lincoln Ideas Forum 2019

**Please note, this event is SOLD OUT**

In April of 1865, Lincoln proposed offering the vote to black soldiers who had served in the Union Army. It would turn out to be one of his final speeches: it’s thought that this proposal is part of the reason Booth accelerated his plans to assassinate the president. This year, we will explore the pressing issues around voting rights as our theme for the fifth annual Lincoln Ideas Forum. Join us as we bring together experts, scholars, and the public in an exploration of the historic contexts of citizenship, voting rights, and the Constitution, alongside the contemporary repercussions of debates over who gets elective franchise.

This program is free and open to the public. Please register to reserve your space.

This program is presented in partnership with the Constitutional Sources Project.

Speakers include:

Robert Tsai, American University

Robert L. Tsai is Professor of Law at American University and a prize-winning essayist in constitutional law and history. Though he was born in Taiwan, he has always considered America his home. In fact, one of the proudest moments of his life was the day he was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Tsai’s research spans constitutional law, legal history, democratic theory, American political culture, social movements, criminal procedure, presidential leadership, and radical constitutionalism. He has written about the legal obstacles placed in the way of black civil rights activists, President Franklin Roosevelt and freedom of religion, the philosophy of John Brown and his followers, modern white supremacy and the militia movement, the Republic of New Afrika’s ideas about the Constitution, the historical treatment of migrants, and early socialism in America. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and worked under federal judges in New York and Boston: U.S. District Judge Denny Chin and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Hugh H. Bownes, before serving for several years as a civil rights lawyer in Georgia. His most recent book, Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation, is a call to arms to do the hard work of equality, brimming with historical lessons for how to make social progress in tough times.

Elaine Weiss, Author

Elaine Weiss is a Baltimore-based journalist and author, whose feature writing has been recognized with prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists; her byline has appeared in many national publications, as well as in reports for National Public Radio. Weiss’ long-form writing garnered a Pushcart Prize “Editor’s Choice” award, and she is a proud MacDowell Colony Fellow. Her first book, Fruits of Victory:The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War was excerpted in Smithsonian Magazine online and featured on C-Span. Weiss’ new book, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote has won glowing reviews from the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and NPR, among others, and she has presented talks about the book and the woman suffrage movement across the country. Steven Speilberg’s Amblin production company has optioned the book for adaptation, with Hillary Rodham Clinton serving as Executive Producer.

Jason Torchinsky, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC

Jason Torchinsky is a partner at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC.In addition to his practice counseling clients on compliance with campaign finance, ethics laws, lobbying disclosure and election laws, Jason has served as lead counsel in a number of litigation matters dealing with First Amendment freedoms and election law and redistricting issues. He has filed numerous amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, including one on behalf of the NRSC and NRCC cited in the Court’s opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Jason has also represented candidates across the country during post-election canvass and recount processes. Additionally, Jason serves as an adjunct professor at the College of William and Mary School of Law, where he teaches about the IRS and political campaigns.

Prior to joining the firm, Jason was Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice. During the 2004 election cycle, Jason served as Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney ’04 and Deputy General Counsel to the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Committee. He holds a B.A. in Government and Public Policy from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from the College of William and Mary School of Law. He is a member of the Virginia Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Federalist Society. Jason has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of the top “Government Law” attorneys in the country. He’s also been honored by Politico as one of the “50 Politicos to Watch,” and Campaigns and Elections Magazine named Jason a “Rising Star of Politics.”

Brianne Gorod, Constitutional Accountability Center

Brianne is Constitutional Accountability Center’s Chief Counsel. Before taking her current role, Brianne served as CAC’s Appellate Counsel.

Brianne joined CAC from private practice at O’Melveny & Myers (OMM), where she was Counsel in the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice. From 2009-11, prior to joining OMM, Brianne was an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. She also served as a law clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, a law clerk for Judge Robert A. Katzmann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and a law clerk for Judge Jed S. Rakoff on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Brianne’s academic writings have appeared in, among others, the Yale Law Journal, the Duke Law Journal, the Northwestern University Law Review, the Washington Law Review, and the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, and her popular writings have appeared in outlets such as the Washington Post, LA Times, Slate, The New Republic, CNN.com, and Reuters, and on numerous blogs, including Huffington Post, SCOTUSblog, Take Care, ACSblog, and Balkinization.

Brianne received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her M.A./B.S. from Emory University. Her master’s thesis in political science examined judicial behavior on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lillian Cunningham, Washington Post (Moderator)

Lillian Cunningham is a journalist at The Washington Post. She is the creator and host of The Post’s “Presidential” and “Constitutional” podcasts. “Presidential” was a 2017 Webby Award honoree for best documentary podcast and a finalist for the Academy of Podcasters’ best news and politics podcast. Previously Lillian was the editor of The Post’s “On Leadership” section and won two Emmy Awards for her video interview series with leaders across politics, business and the arts.

The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of President Lincoln’s Cottage. 

This is a free public program, but space is limited to 80 attendees.

WHEN: Friday, April 12
TIME: 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm

To RSVP, click here

Please note, this event is SOLD OUT. To be added to our wait list, email mmartz@lincolncottage.org. Thank you!


Can’t attend? Follow the conversation on social media: #LincolnIdeas. The Lincoln Ideas Forum will be filmed and available for viewing afterwards.

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