As many readers of this blog will know, the Constitution Project aims to foster consensus-based solutions to difficult constitutional issues and challenges. In practice, this has often meant bringing together the most senior and experienced advocates, lawmakers, and scholars in order to forge compromise. But there is also an important role for those who are still in the early phases of their careers. Young professionals have much to contribute to constitutional debates, including fresh perspectives, recent experiences on the ground, and shifting expectations and priorities. Moreover, lasting consensus ultimately depends not only the leaders who guide constitutional discourse, but also on the entire body of the citizens whose interests they represent. The rich diversity of U.S. civil society manifests itself not only across geography, race, or gender, but also across generations.
With this in mind, The Constitution Project has launched what has come to be known as the Young Professionals Committee (YPC). The group was originally conceived as an association of young lawyers because again, in practice, constitutional issues are often tackled by those trained as attorneys. But just as more junior lawyers can complement the work of senior legal experts, so too can young leaders from other fields add to constitutional debates in substantial and sometimes unexpected ways. As a result, The Constitution Project is coalescing young professionals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines — including policymakers, business leaders, and educators — to engage in some of the key constitutional debates of our time. The YPC aims to enlist their support to help The Constitution Project reach a broader audience, prepare the next generation of leaders, reach lasting, consensus-based solutions to constitutional issues.
The two of co-authors of this blog post co-chair the YPC and wanted to take a moment to introduce the committee. You will be hearing more from us and the other members of the YPC in the near future as we begin a number of new initiatives. Several of our members have already contributed to TCP’s blog: Sidley Austin’s Nick Giles authored a post on reforming mandatory minimum prison sentences; Stanford Law student Neel Lalchandani, wrote a piece on his personal experience as a TCP intern; and Hogan Lovells associate Erica Songer provided a contribution from her colleagues Christopher Handman and Sean Marotta on an important First Amendment case they argued. Our members plan to continue to blog regularly on current constitutional topics as part of our efforts, and we have much more in store: look out for events and other exciting initiatives throughout 2014. If you’re interested in becoming involved, we welcome inquiries and invite you to email us here.
John Terry Dundon
John Paul Schnapper-Casteras