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Summer Forum Preview: Suing the Federal Government

By Karly Satowiak

This year at the Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum, we’re adding a new panel in response to the current political climate. Our panelists will discuss how various sectors have come together to hold the federal government accountable, the diverse ways that they are challenging federal policies, and the role that the private sector plays in this work.

Our moderator is Jill Dash, Vice President of Strategic Engagement at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Jill oversees ACS’s work on judicial nominations; state courts, money, and politics; the Voting Rights Institute; access to justice; and outreach.

Jill will moderate the following panelists:

Cerissa Cafasso (American Oversight)

Cerissa Cafasso is counsel at American Oversight, which launched in March 2017 to expose unethical conduct through Freedom of Information Act requests and suits against federal agencies. Cerissa previously served in the Obama administration at the Department of Labor as Counsel to the Solicitor and Counselor to the Deputy Secretary, providing legal advice on oversight investigations and whistleblower protections.

Megan Crowley (Covington)

Megan Crowley is an associate at Covington, where she leads a team representing the University of California in challenging the government’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Before joining Covington, Megan was a trial attorney at the DOJ Civil Division, where she represented the government in over a dozen cases brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Valerie Nannery (DC Attorney General’s Office)

Valerie Nannery is Assistant Attorney General in  the Public Integrity Section of the Public Advocacy Division in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Valerie works on federal affirmative litigation, including litigation against the President over the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Valerie joined the Attorney General’s office after participating in the Supreme Court Fellows Program, where she worked at the Federal Judicial Center and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. She previously spent more than a decade in private practice.

Javier Guzman (Democracy Forward)

Javier Guzman is the Legal Director for Democracy Forward, which scrutinizes the executive branch policies, sues to stop unlawful government action, educates the public about improper government activity. Before joining Democracy Forward, Javier spent nearly 20 years with the Department of Justice, serving as a trial attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and, most recently, as Deputy Associate Attorney General.  Javier has directly litigated and overseen DOJ cases in a wide range of substantive areas including regulatory litigation, civil rights enforcement and defense, environmental law, information transparency, and immigration law.

We hope you will join these panelists at the Summer Forum on Wednesday, June 13, from noon to 2:30 at Georgetown Law. The event also includes lunch and a keynote presentation by ACLU legal director David Cole.

Karly Satowiak is a member of the Washington Council of Lawyers Communications Committee.

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