Limits of the Law Speakers

Lani Guinier

Lani Guinier

Racial Literacy and Post-Racial Blindness: Where Should the Law Go from Here?

In 1998, Lani Guinier became the first black woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, she was a tenured professor for ten years at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. During the 1980s, she was head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter administration as special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days. Professor Guinier came to public attention when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing. Professor Guinier turned that incident into a powerful personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice. Dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman calls Lift Every Voice a “moving personal testimony, a story of dignity and principle and hope, from which every reader can take heart.”

While a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Professor Guinier investigated the experience of women in law school, leading to the publication of a book, Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change. She and her co-authors found that women were not graduating with top honors, although women and men came to the school with virtually identical credentials. The author of many articles and op-ed pieces on democratic theory, political representation, educational equity, and issues of race and gender, Professor Guinier has written The Tyranny of the Majority (Free Press, 1994) about issues of political representation; Who’s Qualified? (Beacon Press, 2001), with Susan Sturm, about moving beyond affirmative action to reconsider the ways in which colleges admit all students; and The Miner’s Canary (Harvard Press, 2002), with Gerald Torres, about the experience of people of color as a warning or “canary” signaling larger institutional inequities.

Anne Waters

Betty Anne Waters

3,000 Years Away from Home: How Wrongful Convictions Impact Family and Society

On May 12, 1983, Kenneth Waters was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder for the death of an Ayer, Massachusetts woman. He was sentenced to life in prison based on the testimony of two former girlfriends who claimed he admitted to the crime. Kenneth's younger sister, Betty Anne Waters, devoted her life to proving his innocence. She returned to school to earn her GED, then her bachelors, a master's in education, and eventually a law degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.  Ms. Waters accomplished this while raising two boys alone and working as a waitress part-time. While in law school, she began investigating her brother's case. Shortly after passing the bar, she found the biological evidence in a courtyard basement that would prove her brother’s innocence. Ms. Waters submitted the case to the Innocence Project, and it was accepted.  Kenneth Waters was proven innocent through DNA testing in 2001. Six months after his release, he died in a tragic accident. Betty Anne continues to take on wrongful convictions cases with the New England Innocence Project. A feature film about her amazing life story, “The Betty Anne Waters Story,” starring Hilary Swank, is scheduled for release later this year. 

Maddy deLone

Maddy deLone

Maddy deLone became the Executive Director of the Innocence Project in March, 2004. Before joining the Innocence Project, Ms. deLone was an attorney with the Prisoners' Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society, a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney with Children's Rights, Inc., and a law clerk to the Honorable Robert W. Sweet.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, she held various administrative and policy positions in New York City involving juvenile justice, public health, and the City jails. She is the editor of the American Public Health Association's Standards for Health Services in Correctional Institutions (3rd ed).  Ms. deLone is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and holds a Masters in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.  She is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Fellow.

Jane Mayer

Jane Mayer

Is Liberty the Price of Security?

Jane Mayer joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in March, 1995. Based in Washington, DC, she writes about politics for the magazine, and has been covering the war on terror. Recent subjects include Alberto Mora and the Pentagon’s secret torture policy, how the United States outsources torture (extraordinary rendition), the prison at Guantánamo Bay, and the legality of CIA interrogations. She has also written about George W. Bush, the bin Laden family, Sarah Palin, and the television show 24.

Before joining The New Yorker, Ms. Mayer was for 12 years a reporter at the Wall Street Journal. In 1984, she became the Journal’s first female White House correspondent. She was also a war correspondent and a foreign correspondent for the paper. Among other stories, she covered the bombing of the American barracks in Beirut, the Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the final days of Communism in the Soviet Union. Ms. Mayer was a winner of the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism,a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Edward Weintal Prize from Georgetown University, and the Ridenhour Book Prize. She was a nominee for a 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award, a 2008 LA Times Book Prize, and the 2009 Helen Bernstein Award from New York Public Library. She has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award, and was nominated twice by the Wall Street Journal for a Pulitzer Prize in the feature-writing category.

Ms. Mayer graduated with honors from Yale in 1977 and continued her studies in history at Oxford. She began her career in journalism as a stringer for TIME while she was still a student .  She has written for many other publications, including the Washington Post, the Washington Star, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Review of Books.

Mayer is the author of the best-selling 2008 book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, which was chosen by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year, and by the Economist, Salon, Slate, and Bloomberg as one of the best books of the year. She is also the co-author of two other best-selling books: Strange Justice, written with Jill Abramson and published in 1994, a finalist for the 1994 National Book Award for nonfiction; and  Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988, co-authored by Doyle McManus, an acclaimed account of the Reagan White House’s involvement in the Iran-Contra affair.