Federal Courts and Nominations

BLOG: Building the Next Generation of Constitutional Progressives

This summer, CAC welcomed four interns to learn our method of understanding the progressive promise of the text, history, and values of the U.S. Constitution. Check out their reflections on lessons learned and lasting impressions they will carry forward in their careers. 

 

Miranda Litwak
New York University Law School 2024

I never expected to spend my first summer internship of law school doing research that would end up in amicus briefs filed at the Supreme Court. From my first day at CAC, I was able to delve into a number of major constitutional issues dealing with reproductive, voting, labor, and consumer rights. The attorneys not only ensured I was able to work on the issues that interested me most, but relied on my work and valued my perspective. At CAC, my research and writing skills improved exponentially under the tutelage of incredible constitutional thinkers.

CAC’s litigation team not only helped nurture my lawyering skills but also provided mentorship for the next steps in my legal career. Throughout the summer, we had a number of brown bag lunches where I was able to learn about the incredible careers of the attorneys and get guidance about 2L year, internships, clerkships, and our careers after graduation. CAC did not only see us as valuable extra hands, but invested in us as future progressive lawyers. I know the connections and friendships I made this summer will last throughout my career. 

 

Lucas Rodríguez
Harvard Law School 2024

I cannot think of a better place to have spent my summer than CAC. Not only did I have the chance to work on pressing, progressive legal issues, but I also got to do so alongside a group of motivated and kind mentors committed to fulfilling the Constitution’s progressive promises and helping my individual growth. On day one, I was asked to contribute research to a Supreme Court amicus brief on the Sixth Amendment’s right to a jury trial. Right away, CAC’s attorneys taught me how to transform abstract concepts from my 1L courses into concrete arguments we could use to protect marginalized communities and better secure our Constitutional rights. This pattern continued throughout the summer as I got the opportunity to work on cases implicating racial gerrymandering and the ability of citizens injured by unconstitutional government conduct to petition the courts for redress. At the end of the summer, I was overjoyed to see my work directly incorporated into briefs filed in the Supreme Court.

Though I’m thankful to have had the chance to work on the issues I did this summer, I’m even more grateful for the people I got to work with. In what proved to be a difficult summer for progressive constitutionalists, I’m thankful to have found community in the CAC family. The staff’s constant dedication to defending all our rights and realizing the potential of our Constitution will continue to inspire me as I sort out what kind of lawyer I want to be. Everyone I worked with also always took time out of their day to answer any questions I had about our work and what it means to be a strong legal advocate. I’m a better legal researcher, writer, and student of the law because of everyone at CAC; I cannot thank them enough. I know at CAC I made connections that will last throughout my legal career, and I look forward to continuing to help reclaim our Constitution’s text and history in whatever I do next. 

 

Devontae Torriente
University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School 2024

I will forever be grateful for my summer at CAC. I’m ending my internship as a sharper legal researcher, writer, and advocate because of CAC’s investment in my growth. Each assignment was a new opportunity to dig into an area of constitutional law with which I was unfamiliar, pushing me to learn more than I could have imagined. The attorneys trusted me with researching tough legal questions and sincerely valued my perspective on each task I completed. My internship was hands-on from the beginning, allowing me to dive into some of the most pressing legal issues of our time and improve skills that I will use for the rest of my career.

At a moment when our constitutional rights—indeed, the Constitution itself—are being undermined to increase hostility toward marginalized communities, I rest assured knowing that the excellent advocates at CAC are working to fulfill our Constitution’s progressive promise. I feel incredibly lucky to have started my legal career at a place as dynamic, visionary, and thoughtful as CAC. I’m more clear-eyed than ever before about the role of the Constitution in ensuring America lives up to its highest ideals. 

Perhaps most importantly, the CAC team modeled for me the kind of person, teammate, and future lawyer I strive to be. I do not take for granted the significance of being mentored by kindhearted people who are also top-notch lawyers. I gained invaluable insight into the kind of career I hope to create for myself and I’m thankful to be able to rely for years to come on the community I’ve built at CAC. The legal profession and our country are better off because of CAC’s commitment to creating a more just America. 

 

Quynhanh Tran
Yale Law School 2024

I thoroughly enjoyed my summer at CAC! I’ve learned so much about interesting areas of law that I’d only briefly touched on in my classes (who knew that the dormant Commerce Clause was so important?). Brianne made such an effort to tailor assignments to our specific areas of interest, and I was genuinely excited to delve into each one. My time at CAC has not only improved my legal research and writing skills but also challenged me to think more critically about our constitutional rights and who gets to define them. During a summer of devastating decisions from the Supreme Court, it was inspiring to be surrounded by attorneys who are committed to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution.

Not only are CAC attorneys excellent at their job, they’re also wonderful mentors and friends. As an immigrant, first-generation professional, and woman of color, I am all too aware that appellate advocates don’t often look like me. Before this summer, I was worried that I wasn’t academic enough for the work. But my time at CAC has solidified my interest in appellate litigation, and I know that I have mentors who will help me along the way. I’ve been so inspired by both CAC’s commitment to progressive lawyering and to making the legal profession more diverse and humane. 

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