Our History

Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention | Junius Brutus Stearns, Library of Congress

Constitutional Accountability Center was launched in 2008 by the late Doug Kendall to build on the work of our predecessor organization, Community Rights Counsel. CRC was a public interest law firm that promoted constitutional principles in defense of laws that make our communities environmentally sound and socially just.

CAC was founded to push beyond environmental justice to promote the progressive promise of the whole Constitution’s text and history. We the People have amended America’s founding charter 27 times, from the first Congress through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. Perhaps most profound, the Constitution was radically changed in the wake of the Civil War to outlaw slavery, promise equality for all, protect the right to vote for African Americans, and shift power from the states to the federal government—a period often referred to as America’s “Second Founding.”

Under the leadership of our first Chief Counsel and now President, Elizabeth Wydra, CAC has promoted these constitutional principles by filing more than 150 briefs in federal and state courts—over 100 of those in the U.S. Supreme Court—across an array of constitutional and statutory issues including voting rights, money in politics, equal rights for gays and lesbians, equal citizenship for women, rights of immigrants, access to America’s courts, environmental justice, criminal justice, corporate accountability, and access to affordable health care.

In the decade since CAC began, we have also worked to staff America’s courts with the next generation of brilliant legal minds, committed to applying the whole Constitution to the challenges we face today. CAC continues that work, striving for judges who recognize the progressive arc of our Constitution’s text and history—jurists committed to defending the enduring values the Constitution enshrines, including the values reflected in the critical amendments ratified in the wake of momentous changes in our society over more than 200 years.