Rodney & Etter Sponsors Annual Lionel R. Collins Dinner

July 23, 2012 - 4 minute read

Rodney & Etter, LLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Ronald L. Wilson was the Keynote Speaker at the annual Lionel R. Collins dinner, co-hosted by R&E and McGlinchey Stafford, LLC on July 17, 2012.  The dinner is held to commemorate the progress made by African-American judges since the landmark 1991 Clark and Chisom cases.  Mr. Wilson was one of the plaintiff’s attorneys in the original Chisom case, and has litigated numerous cases in the areas of housing discrimination, employment discrimination, school desegregation, voting rights, police misconduct, prison conditions, separation of church and state, freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process of law and equal protection. 

Collectively, the cases of Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 380 (1991) and Chisom v. Roemer 501 U.S. 380 (1991) desegregated the Louisiana Trial, Appellate, and Supreme Courts.  The cases were filed after years of proposed legislation failed to reform judicial districts that effectively, and often intentionally, diluted the voting strength of Louisiana’s large African-American communities.  The success of Clark and Chisom was the result of the courage of plaintiffs Janice Clark, Ron Chisom, Marc H. Morial, and others, and the aggressive pursuit of litigation under the Voting Rights Act by attorneys Ernest Johnson, William Quigley, Roy J. Rodney, Jr., Ron Wilson, Lani Guinier, Pamela Karlan, the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford, and many others.  The cases also had the strong support of organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society.  As a result of these cases, Louisiana now enjoys the largest number of African-American Judges in the United States.

The Lionel R. Collins dinner is held during the National Bar Association’s annual convention, which is being held this year in Las Vegas.  The dinner brings together current and past African-American jurists and invited guests to hear speakers on topics ranging from equal opportunity, civil rights, and emerging social trends of import to the courts.  Past speakers have included  Mr. Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative; then-Mayor of the City of New Orleans C. Ray Nagin; Marc H. Morial, former Mayor of the City of New Orleans and current President and CEO of the National Urban League,; Mr. Ron Chisom, the lead plaintiff in the Chisom case; Louisiana Supreme Court Justices Bernette J. Johnson and Revius Ortique, Jr.; Former Louisiana State Attorney General Richard Ieyoub; Harvard Law School Professor and well-known scholar and civil rights activist, Lani Guinier; and William Quigley, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. 

Mr. Roy J. Rodney, Jr., managing partner at Rodney & Etter, LLC, has been involved in voting rights and other civil rights cases, including Clark and Chisom, since the start of his career.  Most recently, he successfully ensured the voting rights of individuals displaced by Hurricane Katrina when the firm filed the historic case of Gerald Wallace, et al. v. Michael Chertoff, et al,, No. 2:05-cv-5519 (E.D. La. 2006).

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