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National Legal Panel

Thursday, July 2, 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
National Museum of American Jewish History

101 South Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA


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Collaborating Organizations:
National Museum of American Jewish History

With a highly anticipated Supreme Court marriage equality decision expected in late June 2015, a panel of leading legal activists and scholars explores our progress—from the first Supreme Court brief for LGBT equality, filed by Gay Pioneer Frank Kameny in January 1961, to this latest landmark ruling—as well as the current and future legal challenges facing the LGBT community.

Sponsored by

R. Bradley Sears (Moderator)
Executive Director of the Williams Institute
University of California - Los Angeles

Brad Sears is the executive director of the Williams Institute, a UCLA think tank that focuses on sexual orientation policy and law, and an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Sears founded the HIV Legal Checkup Project and served as the discrimination and confidentiality attorney for the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance of Los Angeles (HALSA). In 2009 The Advocate magazine honored him on its “40 Under 40” list of exemplary people. 



James D. Esseks (Panelist)
Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

James Esseks is the director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project. He oversees litigation, lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education nationwide to ensure equal rights for LGBT people and their families in all areas: by the government; in jobs, schools, housing and other matters; and in the treatment of LGBT individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Esseks graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.



Jennifer S. Goldstein, Esq. (Panelist)
Associate General Counsel
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Jennifer Goldstein is the associate general counsel for the Appellate Division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and has argued some 50 cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals on the EEOC's behalf.  She has filed amicus briefs in cases such as Jamal v. Saks & Co. and Lewis v. High Point Regional Health System to argue that transgender discrimination is sexual discrimination and, thus, unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. 



Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, Esq. (Panelist)
Partner, Ropes & Gray
Lead Counsel in the Supreme Court Marriage Equality Case

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the highly publicized marriage equality case (Obergefell v. Hodges). He has argued a total of 15 cases before the Supreme Court and filed more than 150 briefs with the Court. All told, he has presented more than 50 appellate arguments and appeared in every federal circuit court of appeals. A partner at Ropes & Gray, Hallward-Driemeier leads the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court practice. He rejoined the firm in 2010 after spending more than a decade handling civil appeals and Supreme Court litigation for the U.S. Department of Justice.



Kenji Yoshino (Panelist)
Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law
NYU School of Law

Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law. A Rhodes scholar with a J.D. from Yale, he taught previously at Yale Law School, where he became deputy dean and the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor. His specializes in constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. The author of two books and countless articles, Yoshino appears regularly on broadcast media such as National Public Radio and MSNBC.




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