In the Tanks

Doug Kendall is rolling out a think tank and public-interest law firm called the Constitutional Accountability Center. He hopes that the new group will serve as a resource for liberals on constitutional matters. “We’ll find arguments rooted in text and history where they advance progressive outcomes.” The center has hired Elizabeth Wydra, formerly of law firm Quinn Emanuel in San Francisco and a colleague of noted ex-Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan. The group’s board of advisor includes Ron Klain, a former top aide to Vice President Gore; Kevin Spacey portrays Klain in the new HBO movie Recount.

The center is an outgrowth of Kendall’s previous operation, the Community Rights Counsel, a decade-old environmental legal group that also relied on constitutional arguments. He hails from Flanders, N.J., and graduated from the University of Virginia Law School. Kendall has also worked for law firm Crowell & Moring. “I went to law school to practice environmental law [and] realized that what most environmental lawyers do I had no interest in doing, which is technical statutory work,” he says. But Kendall noticed how conservative groups successfully used constitutional arguments to influence environmental law and saw a need for a liberal counterpart.

Kendall, 43, is married to Juliet McKenna, a D.C. Superior Court judge and longtime advocate for abused children. They are the adoptive parents of an 8-year-old girl, Miracle. —Gregg Sangillo