1. Taylor Bell v. Itawamba County Board of Education, 859 F. Supp. 2d 834 (N. D. Miss. March 15, 2012); oral argument before Barksdale, J., Graves, J. and Dennis, J., held Dec. 3, 2012; aff’d in part, rev’d in part and remanded by divided panel, 774 F. 3d 280 (5th Cir. December 12, 2014), petition for rehearing en banc granted, 5 Cir., 2014, 774 F.3d 280); en banc argument May 12, 2015; affirmed, Majority Opinion by Barksdale, J., (5th Cir. August 20, 2015) cert. denied, No. 15-666 (U.S. February 29, 2016).
First Amendment: School Board’s disciplinary action suspending student for off-campus publication on social media of rap song and lyrics stating with reference to school employees “going to get a pistol down your mouth,” “betta watch your back,” “I’m going to hit you with my rueger”, and “middle fingers up if you want to cap that nigga” held constitutionally justified under Tinker’s disruption standard. In affirming the summary judgment decision of Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, the 5th Circuit found that
(1) “constitutional rights of students in public school are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings,”
(2) Tinker applied to off-campus speech where “school officials reasonably could find Bell’s rap recording threatened, harassed, and intimidated the two teachers,” and “a substantial disruption reasonably could have been forecast,”
(3) the student’s “admittedly intentionally directing at the school community his rap recording containing threats to, and harassment and intimidation of, two teachers permits Tinker’s application in this case,”
(4) “Tinker governs this analysis when a student intentionally directs at the school community speech reasonably understood by school officials to threaten, harass and intimidate a teacher, even when such speech originated, and was disseminated, off-campus without use of school resources,”
(5) taking the school board’s decision into account and the deference the court must accord it, the student’s recording “reasonably could have been forecast to cause a substantial disruption,” and
(6) there is “no genuine issue of material fact that the school board’s finding the rap recording threatened, harassed, and intimidated the two coaches was objectively reasonable,” and “a substantial disruption reasonably couldhave been forecast as a matter of law.”
In determining the objective reasonableness vel non for forecasting a substantial disruption, the summary judgment record and numerous related factors must be considered against the backdrop of the mission of schools: to educate. It goes without saying that a teacher, which includes a coach, is the cornerstone of education. Without teaching, there can be little, if any, learning. Without learning, there can be little, if any, education. Without education, there can be little, if any, civilization.”
The majority opinion concluded that threatening, harassing, and intimidating a teacher impedes, if not destroys, the ability to teach; it impedes, if not destroys, the ability to educate. It disrupts, if not destroys, the discipline necessary for an environment in which education can take place. In addition, it encourages and incites other students to engage in similar disruptive conduct. Moreover, it can even cause a teacher to leave that profession. In sum, it disrupts, if not destroys, the very mission for which schools exist – to educate.”
2. Attala County, Mississippi Branch of the NAACP et al v. Attala County, Mississippi Board of Supervisors et al , 1:11-cv-00060-MPM-JMV (N.D. Miss. July 16, 2014)(Mills, J.)
- Dismissal of One Person, One Vote Claims and Claims for Post-Election Relief on Grounds of Mootness; Inapplicability of “Capable of Repetition, Yet Evading Review” Exception to Mootness Doctrine; Failure to Show Egregious Violation of Voting Rights Act.
3. Hancock County Bd. of Supervisors v. Ruhr (Warren County, Wayne County & Simpson County), 2014 WL 1998998, 5th Cir. May 16, 2014
- Dismissal of one person, one vote claim against multiple counties in second appeal by NAACP Appellants based on inapplicability of appellate doctrine of "capable of repetition, yet evading review" by reason of, inter alia, impact of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder (U.S. June 25, 2013).
4. B.A. et al v. Mississippi High School Activities Association, Tupelo Public School District, et al, NO.: 1:13CV170-SA-DAS (N.D. Miss. Sept. 18, 2013)(Aycock, J.)
- MHSAA 50% Rule Upheld in face of Equal Protection Challenge.
5. NAACP et al. v. Simpson County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 3:11CV123 DPJ-FKB, NAACP et al. v. Warren County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 5:11CV28 DCB-JMR, NAACP et al. v. Wayne County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 4:11CV33 HTW-LRA (S. D. Miss. August 19, 2013) (Guirola, C.J.)
- Dismissal of One Person, One Vote challenge to redistricting of counties based on mootness.
6. Clein v. Rankin County School District, 78 So. 3d 384 (Miss. App. Jan. 17, 2012) (Chandler, J.), on appeal from Circuit Court of Rankin County, Ms (Chapman, J.)
- Summary Judgment affirmed in favor of school district based on discretionary function immunity under MTCA and absence of premises liability under Miss. Code Ann. Sections 11-46-9(1)(d) and (v) (Supp. 2011), arising from student's injury while participating in physical education class.
7. Tribull Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Biloxi, (Sept.8, 2010) Circuit Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, Cause No. A2402-2004-124
- A construction company challenged the City of Biloxi’s imposition of height restrictions and the impact of those restrictions on its proposed real estate development near the flight path of a runway at Keesler AFB. The matter proceeded to trial, the jury found for the City of Biloxi and awarded no damages.
8. NAACP et al. v. Simpson County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 3:11CV123 DPJ-FKB, NAACP et al. v. Warren County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 5:11CV28 DCB-JMR, NAACP et al. v. Wayne County Board of Supervisors, et al., Civil Action No. 4:11CV33 HTW-LRA
(S.D. Miss. May 16, 2011), motion to alter denied (S.D. Miss. June 13, 2011) (Guirola, C. J.)
- COUNTY REDISTRICTING; ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE; ELECTIONS UNDER EXISTING DISTRICT LINES.
9. Julia W. Lange, et al. v. City of Batesville, 972 So. 2d 11, 2008 Miss. App. LEXIS 19 (Miss. App. Jan. 8, 2008) (Roberts, J.), affirming No. CV2006-0008LP2 (Circuit Court of Second Judicial District of Panola County, Mississippi)(Opinion and Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment March 7, 2007)(Ann H. Lamar, Circuit Court Judge)
- For further information, click here.
10. Julia W. Lange, et al. vs. City of Batesville, Mississippi, No. 05-60371 (5th Cir. Dec. 21, 2005) (per curiam)
- For further informtion, click here.
- ISSUE AND CLAIM PRECLUSION: SUMMARY JUDGMENT AFFIRMED: Applying Issue and claim preclusion following a state appellate court decision against plaintiffs, the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated and dismissed w/o prejudice in part a summary judgment for the City.
11. Tunica Web Advertising, et al. vs. Tunica Casino Operators Association, Inc., et al, Civil Action No. 2:03CV234-P-D (N.D. Miss. Dec. 21, 2005) (Pepper, J.) at https://casetext.com/case/tunica-web-advertising, rev’d and remanded, 496 F. 3d 403 (5th Cir. 2007)
- For further information, click here.
- ANTITRUST: SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Summary Judgment was granted in favor of casinos based on plaintiff’s failure to establish a claim of antitrust violations under Section 1 of Sherman Act, the district court rejecting plaintiff’s argument that liability arose when she could not convince any of the casinos to utilize her domain name tunica.com or, once created, its primitive website.
2. Legal Talk Network PODCAST, ABA Annual Meeting, Moscone Center West, San Francisco, August 5, 2016:
As this is an election year, many people (including lawyers) are paying closer attention to election and voting rights. So what’s trending in election law and what could these developments mean for the upcoming American election? In this On the Road report recorded at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, Joe Patrice interviews C. Robert Heath and Ben Griffith, contributing authors to the book “America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights.” They begin by talking about Evenwel vs. Abbott, a case in which the Supreme Court allowed states to use total population, not those who can vote, when drawing legislative districts. They then address the state of voter identification cases and whether rigid voter ID laws have a significant impact on certain classes of people. Robert, Ben, and Joe finish by discussing political and racial gerrymandering, which is likely the root cause of the U.S. Congressional gridlock.
C. Robert Heath is an attorney with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta where he practices complex governmental litigation and counseling, election law and voting rights, open government and ethics, and many other areas of law. Robert has written and presented extensively about the topic of electoral law.
Ben Griffith is the principal of Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, Mississippi. He focuses his practice on federal and state civil litigation, with emphasis on voting rights and election law, civil rights, public sector insurance coverage, and environmental law.
3. A Magna Carta for True Local Government: 800 Years of Lessons from the United Kingdom and the U.S.
This panel addressed the evolving nature and role of local government from the perspective of elected representatives, current and former municipal government officials and academic experts in urban planning law and policy from the United Kingdom and the U.S., and lessons learned relative to local government power, autonomy and intergovernmental relationships over the past 800 years. Panelists included Councillor Marianne Overton MBE, Local Government Association independent group leader and vice chair; Peter Wynne Rees, professor of places and city planning, The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment; Anton Cooray, former law department chair, Hong Kong City University, and former chair of Hong Kong town planning board, and professor, City University United Kingdom; Professor David Callies, who served on the faculty at the University of Hawaii School of Law; and Benjamin E. Griffith, chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law’s International Committee.
Presentations & Publications
1. Facilitator, The State of the American Legal Profession and the Nation’s Law Schools, Law Faculty of Zagreb, International Legal Exchange (ILEX) Croatia Briefing Trip, March 1, 2017
3. Speaker, Racial Gerrymandering in the Post-Scalia Court, America Votes 2016! Developments in Election Law, Young Lawyers Division, Palace Hotel, San Francisco, ABA 2016 Annual Meeting, Aug. 5, 2016 http://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/events_cle/2016_annual_meeting/program_descriptions.html
Over three decades after Shaw v. Reno, the Supreme Court breathed new life into the constitutional tort of racial gerrymandering with its landmark decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, but recent decisions from Virginia and North Carolina, including brief interlocutory trips to the post-Scalia Supreme Court, reveal the courts are not in accord on the use of racial classifications in the redistricting process and when, if ever, compliance with Section 2’s anti-vote dilution standards or avoidance of retrogression under now-immobilized Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, may be appropriately narrowly tailored and serve as compelling governmental justifications for race-based redistricting. In an ominous warning about the impact of the Alabama decision, Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent in that case less than a year before his death, called the decision “a sweeping holding that will have profound implications for the constitutional ideal of one person, one vote, for the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and for the primacy of the state in managing its own elections.” This segment of the program traces the history and legal course of racial gerrymandering and calls for a more principled, predictable and intensely factual analysis of racial gerrymandering claims that raise competing issues of racial identification and partisan political affiliation as principal drivers of the districting process, a process for which an ideologically divided Supreme Court has yet to provide clear and definitive guidance.
4. Hacking Municipal Government: IT Best Practices for the Protection of Confidential, Proprietary and Other Sensitive Local Government Data, World Jurist Association Biennial World Congress on Justice, Civil Service and the Internet, Barcelona Hilton, Barcelona, Spain, May 19-21, 2016 http://worldjurist.org/ted-wells/speaker-information/
5. America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law & Voting Rights (ABA 2016, 3rd ed., Benjamin E. Griffith, Editor)
The third edition of America Votes! was released for distribution by ABA Publishing five months before the 2016 Presidential Election and provides a timely focus on three weighty challenges facing our Nation’s electoral system: Electoral Administration and Technology: The New Challenges; The Challenges for Voting Rights; and The Challenges of One Person, One Vote in Redistricting. Consisting of 17 chapters written by a total of 20 authors, the third edition is a must read for anyone interested in the democratic election process and the future of voting and electoral fairness in the USA.
I. Electoral Administration and Technology: The New Challenges
1. Ann Ravel, Vice-Chair, Federal Election Commission – The Work and Responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission
2. Doug Chapin, Director, Program for Excellence in Election Administration, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Univ. of Minnesota – The Election Advisory Commn’s responsibilities for enforcing or interpreting federal election law
3. Terry Ao Minnis, Director of Census & Voting Programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Language Assistance to Voters
4. Bob Heath, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado - Using Census Data Sources to Prove Citizenship in Voting Rights Litigation.
5. John Hardin Young and Rachel Provencher – The Administrative Challenges for Recounts, Contests and Post-Election Audits
II. The Challenges for Voting Rights
6. Paul Gronke, Professor, Reed College & Daniel B. German Endowed Visiting Professor, Appalachian State University– Early Voting
7. Justin Levitt, Professor, Loyola University School of Law – Quick and Dirty: New Misunderstandings of the Voting Rights Act.
8. Paul Wiley, Washington & Lee University School of Law - Section 3 Bail-In
9. Lorraine Minnite, Professor, Department of Public Policy & Administration, Rutgers University – The Voter Fraud Myth
10. Tanya Clay House, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law – Voter Suppression Litigation
11. Tova Andrea Wang, Senior Democracy Fellow, Demos – The Impact of Voter Suppression Tactics on Participation and Mobilization of Low Propensity Voters
12. Nicole Austin-Hillery, The Brennan Center – Voter ID as Suppression
13. Nancy G. Abudu, Legal Director, ACLU Foundation of Florida, Immigration, Voting Rights and Electoral Access
III. The Challenges of One Person, One Vote in Redistricting
14.Donald Campbell, Assoc. Professor, Mississippi College School of Law – Partisan Politics, Competitive Districts & the Voting Rights Act
15.Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity – Felons, Fraud, Redistricting and Race
16.Tommie Cardin and Parker Berry, Butler Snow – Finding Middle Ground for State Legislative Reapportionment
17.Vince Fontana, Law Office of Vincent R. Fontana, and Ben Griffith, Griffith Law Firm – Nuts and Bolts of Section 2 Vote Dilution Litigation from the Defense Perspective
8.International Municipal Lawyers Association 2014 Mid Year Seminar Anchorage, Alaska, May 20, 2014, Work Session IX: VOTING RIGHTS IMPACT OF THE VOTING RIGHTS AMENDMENT ACT OF 2014 & SHELBY COUNTY v. HOLDER ON ALASKA REDISTRICTING
10. Municipal Collaboration in Tackling Corruption, Lobbying and Community Economic Development: Role of Municipal Attorneys & Civil Society Organizations, May 29, 2013 – June 6, 2013, Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine Charles W. Thompson, Jr., Executive Director and General Counsel, International Municipal Lawyers Association, Benjamin E. Griffith, Chair of International Committee, International Municipal Lawyers Association
11. The Importance of Observers in International Elections and How Lawyers Can Get Involved, FEBRUARY 8, 2013, The Role of Civil Societies & Preventive Observation: The Republic of Georgia’s 2012 Parliamentary Election
12. American Bar Association, Access to Government in the Computer Age: An Examination of State Public Record Laws, Litigants' Rights Under State Public Records Acts: The Use of Public Records Requests as an Alternative to Discovery, Chapter 3
13. Role of Municipal Government in Protecting Water Quality: Environmental Enforcement Through TMDL Litigation, NAFTA/NAAEC & U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program
15. APA Fall Federal Policy & Program Briefing Water Policy and Legal Issues, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. September 19, 2011, The Fracking Debate Expands: Water-Related Regulations, Disposal and Treatment of Flowback and Wastewater, and Water Contamination Litigation Spawned by Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas
16. American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law, 2012 EDUCATION LAW SYMPOSIUM AND FALL MEETING, The Tinker Standard as Applied to Off-Campus Use of Social Media by Students: Substantial Disruption, Actual Threat or Non-Actionable Offensive Speech?, October 4 - 7, 2012, Kansas City, Missouri
17. International Election Principles in the 21st Century Sponsor: Georgia Municipal Law Association, Cosponsors: World Jurist Association Georgian-American University, Faculty of Law International Municipal Lawyers Association, American Bar Association: Standing Committee on Election Law Section of State & Local Government Law Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section of International Law, Georgian-American University, 8 Merab Aleksidze Street, Tbilisi 0160, Georgia September 25, 2012
18. Voter Identification, Proof of Citizenship and Voter Registration: Curse of Suppression or Cure for Fraud?, August 5, 2012, ABA Section of State & Local Government Law, ABA Presidential Showcase Program, Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL
19.World Jurist Association 24th Biennial Congress on the Law of the World National Legal Cultures in a Globalized World Prague, Czech Republic Thursday, October 27, 2011, Fracking for Shale Gas: Energy Security & Sustainable Water Resources
20. The 2010 Census and the VRA’s Impact on Redistricting & the Electoral Process, INTERNATIONAL MUNICIPAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION IMLA, Teleconference Series, April 26, 2011
21. Best Practices for Official Minutes of Public Meetings: Practical Solutions to Common Problems & Divergent Standards Under Applicable State Laws, NACRA 2011 Legislative Conference, Marriott Washington, March 5, 2011
23. Law Beyond the Fracking Wars: The International Community’s Response, American Bar Association Section of State & Local Government
24. Roundtable on the Voting Rights Act, ABA Standing Committee on Election Law, Friday, February 11, 2011
25. IMLA TELECONFERENCE, Session VI, Election law, Voting Rights and One Person, One Vote: Legal Issues & Developments for Local Governments, February 9, 2011
27. Redistricting Following the 2010 Census: What City and County Attorneys Need to Know, ALABAMA CITY & COUNTY GOVERNMENT SEMINAR Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, Alabama May 6, 2010
28. Hot Topics in Election Law, American Bar Association Midyear Meeting, February 10, 2010, Current Trends on Voting Rights Litigation & the Census
29. Voting Rights Litigation: Dealing with the 2010 Census, IMLA, Voting Rights, Electoral Transparency and Participation in the Political Process, December 10, 2009
30. Voting and Election Law CLE: Reining in Election-Day Dirty Tricks, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law 2008, Fall Council Meeting, September 17-21, 2008, Hotel Sax Chicago, Chicago, IL
31. World Jurist Association Jerusalem Conference 2008, The Pursuit of Peace Through the Rule of Law at Times of Violence Jerusalem, Israel • June 12–17, 2008, Session 10: The Role of Governments in Combating Terrorism, The Role of National Governments in Providing Models for Continuity and Sustainable Growth: Terrorism’s Challenges to the Rule of Law, CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT, Benjamin E. Griffith & Michael S. Carr
32. ELECTION YEAR SUMMIT, International Election Law: Lessons Taught and Lessons Learned Friday, April 18, 2008, Equality Center of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Remedies in Election Disputes: The International Context, Benjamin E. Griffith & Michael S. Carr
33. THE BELL CONFERENCE: SECURITY CHALLENGES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, Pressures Upon the World of Democracy & Revival of Western Civilization Legal Protections of Democratic Life: The Transparent Electoral Process, By Benjamin E. Griffith & Sona N. Pancholy, Stone Bell House, Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic, May 11-12, 2007
34. World Jurist Association Conference on World Wide Immigration and the Rule of Law, Wilshire Grand Hotel, Los Angeles, April 22-26, 2007. Panel Session II - The Impact of Illegal Immigration on National and Local Governments, The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Local Governments in the Areas of Law Enforcement, Education and Incarceration of Criminals, Benjamin E. Griffith and Michael S. Carr
36. Section 2 and Section 5 As Amended by VRAA of 2006, Chapter 9, by BENJAMIN E. GRIFFITH & DAVID D. O’DONNELL
37. IMLA's 71st Annual Conference, In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark--Exploring New Frontiers in Local Government Law, Work Session III: Emerging Trends--Tracking the Hot Button Issues, What Local Government Counsel Needs to Know about the 2006 Amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 2006, H.R. 9: Bilingual Interpreters, Foreign Language Ballots & Strengthened Preclearance Requirements, September 18, 2006
38. GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION, 2006 SUMMER CONFERENCE, JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING, JUNE 4-6, 2006, Supreme Court Issues Dam Ruling: Discharge Triggers Permit Requirement Even in Absence of Pollution
39. Terrorism and the Rule of Law, The Role of Local Government in Responding to Transnational Terrorism, World Jurist Association, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 21-24, 2006
40. 2006 INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATIVE DRAFTING INSTITUTE, The Public Law Center, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, Legislative Drafting at the Local Government Level, May 15, 2006
41. HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR LAWYERS, POLICYMAKERS AND EXECUTIVES: LESSONS FROM THE KATRINA CATASTROPHE, The Center for American and International Law International Municipal Lawyers, Association ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Maintaining Essential Services: Elections, May 4, 2006, Intercontinental Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
42. Leading Answers to Leading Questions: Straight Talk on 2006's Most Important Legal Issues, Family and Medical Leave Act - A Road Map, Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Georgia, March 22, 2006
43. DAUBERT MOTION PRACTICE: CHALLENGES TO QUALIFICATIONS, RELIABILITY, METHODOLOGY, & RELEVANCY OF EXPERT TESTIMONY IN CIVIL RIGHTS LITIGATION DRI, Civil Rights & Governmental Liability Seminar, January 26, 2006, Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas
44. DAUBERT MOTIONS IN GOVERNMENTAL LITIGATION, IMLA’s 70th Annual Conference From Challenges to Opportunities: Local Government Law in Georgia’s First City, September 28, 2005, Work Session XIII: Litigation and Trial Skills Hyatt Regency Savannah
45. World Jurist Association 22 Biennial Congress on the Law of the World, International Cooperation on Anti-Corruption, Transparency in the Electoral Process, September 6, 2005, Great Hall of the People Beijing, People’s Republic of China
46. GMDA NATIONAL WINTER CONFERENCE Legal Issues Surrounding Groundwater, The Role of Science and Federal Policy in Water Management & EPA and Groundwater Issues, by Benjamin E. Griffith and James I. Palmer, The Hyatt Regency, Savannah, January 10, 2005
47. World Jurist Association Conference on Economic Development, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Democracy Building, Hotel Rus Kiev, Ukraine, September 5-9, 2004, Insuring Free and Impartial Elections
48. Public Sector Employee Liability: Is Your Employee Handbook a Sword or a Shield for Sexual Harassment Claimants?, 68th Annual Conference of International Municipal Lawyers Association, Personnel Section Workshop, October 12, 2003, Roundtable, October 14, 2003 Minneapolis, Minnesota
49. Redistricting: The Section 5 Submission to Justice, 2002 Midwinter Continuing Legal Education Seminar of the Mississippi Association of County Board Attorneys, January 8, 2002, Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, Jackson, Mississippi
50. Resolving Conflicts in Multi-Jurisdictional Practice, Free Movement of Civil Justice, November 3-6, 2001, Ethical Problems Associated with Multijurisdictional Law Practice
51. IMLA, 20th Biennial Conference of the Law of the World, Multijurisdictional Practice and Ethics, Dublin, Ireland, September 30-October 5, 2001
52. Redistricting in the Post-Shaw World, National Conference of State Legislatures National Redistricting Seminar, Hyatt Regency, Denver Denver, Colorado, Friday, March 5, 1999
53. BEFORE THE UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS THE IMPACT OF THE 1982 AMENDMENTS TO THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965 ON POLITICAL REPRESENTATION IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA, Public Hearing on Racial and Ethnic Tensions in American Communities--Poverty, Inequality and Discrimination, March 8, 1997, Greenville, Mississippi
54. Litigation and Risk Management Work Session, NIMLO's 59th Annual Conference, October 25, 1994, Reno, Nevada, The Impact of Shaw v. Reno on Section 2 Litigation
55. Redistricting and Voting Rights Act: Is Shaw Versus Reno the Death Knell for Minority Districts?, March 6, 1994, National Association of Counties, Annual Legislative Conference, Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C.
Works in Progress
Open Data, Government Transparency, Cybertheft & Individual Privacy, IMLA Midyear Seminar, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
April 23, 2017, a joint presentation by Benjamin E. Griffith, Chair of IMLA’s International Committee, and Sven Kohlmeier, Member of the House of Representatives of Berlin, SPD parliamentary group
This presentation will center on a comparison between the EU's Data Protection Directive 95/46 EG (protection of individuals with regard to processing of personal data and the free movement of such data) and the fundamental right of privacy under U.S. Constitutional law, as applied to government on the local, state and international level. We will couple this discussion with a frank analysis of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), seen by critics as a seriously flawed governmental surveillance bill that has modified internet surveillance laws and broadened the powers of network operators to conduct surveillance for cybersecurity purposes, while viewed by its supporters as an essential tool to fight cybercrime, based on the rationale that the tools and strategies successfully used against private sector business will also be used against governments at the local, state and national level. As every IMLA member knows, government has its greatest impact at the local government level, and this EU-US perspective on the need to protect the right of privacy while protecting our government against cyberintrusion is all the more important to local government attorneys in turbulent times. This is particularly problematic when national security concerns are constantly invoked as a rationale for ignoring privacy rights. In addition to touching on the major differences between the US and the EU with respect to data protection from private actors, particularly with respect to restrictions (or the lack thereof) on governmental surveillance and access to personally identifiable data, we will point out how dragnet surveillance has gone global and will emphasize how so little attention is being paid to the deterioration of privacy rights. This will include the prospect of government-sponsored surveillance of non-citizens and feasible safeguards that may be available at the local level.
Tried and true strategies for handling the top ten most common evidentiary issues in public entity litigation, DRI Governmental Liability and Civil Rights Seminar,January 27, 2017, Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville, TN (invited speaker)
Ben Griffith discusses America Votes! Challenged to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (ABA 2016):