Civil Disobedience, Democracy and Structural Racism: What’s Federalism Got to Do with It?


Protests, marches and demonstrations – signature acts of a democracy -- have exploded in areas around the country. Demonstrators call for a reassessment of law enforcement methods and redirecting of resources. What does federalism demand as the response to these acts of peaceful and not peaceful protests?

Our panel of UB Law faculty--Prof. Matthew Lindsay, an expert in American legal history and constitutional law; Prof. Robert Knowles, an expert in national security law; and Prof. Odeana Neal, an expert in juvenile justice--will consider the distinct yet overlapping areas of local, state and federal governments’ relationship to historical and present-day structural racism. The balancing of these distinct jurisdictions – local, state, and federal – is core to the principle of federalism. What are the principles that should guide the proper response to the demonstrations that respects democracy and freedom of expression?

Our moderator will be Veryl Pow, a clinical teaching fellow at UB Law and an expert in criminal justice and social movement lawyering. Register here.


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Christine Stutz
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Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request 10 days prior to a campus event and 30 days prior to an event requiring travel.

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