Through the Gale Ep4:  Lawyering, Leadership, and Democracy – Public Service


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Lawyers have historically played an essential role in expanding access to elections. While the 2018 elections ushered in a record number of women and people of color into public office at the local, state, and national levels, state legislatures also launched efforts to restrict voting access and rights. The barriers facing voters and candidates of color, and threats to the democratic process were highlighted again in 2020, as lawyers played a key role in both expanding access to voting and in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, despite the falsity of their claims.

How are lawyers working to promote diverse electoral representation and ensure broad voting access? Are lawyers mere partisans or do they have a special role in advancing rule of law values in service of democracy? In this episode, the hosts meet with Amanda Litman (Run for Something) and Sam Spital (NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund) to delve into public service, the aftermath of the 2020 election, and the roles that lawyers play in the democratic process.

Episode Details

Released: August 25, 2022

Length: 37:13


Photo of Amanda Litman

Amanda Litman, co-founder and co-executive director of Run for Something.

Photo of Sam Spital

Sam Spital, Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

Hosted By:

Photo of Adaeze Eze

Adaeze Eze '22 served as vice president of the National Security Law Society at Columbia Law, a staffer on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and a member of Columbia Law’s inaugural Public Interest/Public Service Fellows cohort. Her work involves questions of separation of powers and limits on presidential power.

Andres Estevez '23 is a rising 3L at Columbia Law School and is interested in race, civil rights, and criminal and social justice.

Photo of Dante Violette

Dante Violette '22 is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2015 with a B.S. in psychology. Continuing his studies at the University of Chicago, he earned a master’s degree in 2018 in Social Service and Administration focusing on global social development. At Columbia Law, Violette was a Public Interest/Public Service Fellow, a student member of Columbia Law School’s Anti-Racism Steering Committee, and a member of the Black Law Student Association.


Written and produced by Adaeze Eze, Andres Estevez, and Dante Violette.
Edited and recorded by Devan Kortan and Jake Rosati.
Special thanks to Michelle Wilson, Julie Godsoe, Cary Midland, and Kara Van Woerden.

Sound Clips:

"Ella’s Song," composed by Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Instrumentals courtesy of Free Music Archive.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Law and Race | Legal Profession


Center for Constitutional Governance

Through the Gale Ep4:  Lawyering, Leadership, and Democracy – Public Service