Edwin Meese III served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988. Before serving as Attorney General, he was counselor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. In this capacity he functioned as the president’s chief policy adviser and had management responsibility for the administration of the cabinet, policy development, and planning and evaluation. During the time he held both these positions, Meese was a member of the president’s cabinet and the National Security Council.
Mr. Meese served as Governor Reagan’s executive assistant and chief of staff in California from 1969-1974 and as legal affairs secretary from 1967-1968. Before joining Governor Reagan’s staff in 1967, he served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County California.
Mr. Meese is a distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; a member of the Board of Regents of the National College of District Attorney; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London. He has authored many scholarly books on American government, most recently The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.
He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Chairman of the Economics Department. He holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from UCLA. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, a Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College, and a Doctor Honoris Causa en Ciencias Sociales from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala, where he is also Professor Honorario.
Dr. Williams is the author of over 150 publications which have appeared in scholarly journals such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, Georgia Law Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Social Science Quarterly, and Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and popular publications such as Newsweek, Ideas on Liberty, National Review, Reader’s Digest, Cato Journal, and Policy Review. He has authored six books: America: A Minority Viewpoint;The State Against Blacks, which was later made into the PBS documentary; Good Intentions, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa’s War Against Capitalism, which was later revised for South African publication; Do the Right Thing: The People’s Economist Speaks; and More Liberty Means Less Government.
He has made scores of radio and television appearances and is an occasional substitute host for the “Rush Limbaugh” radio show. In addition, Dr. Williams writes a weekly nationally syndicated column that is carried by approximately 140 newspapers and several web sites.
Dr. Williams serves on several boards of directors including Grove City College, the Reason Foundation, and the Hoover Institution. He also serves on numerous advisory boards including: Cato Institute, Landmark Legal Foundation, Institute of Economic Affairs, and Heritage Foundation.
Ambassador Curtin Winsor, Jr.
Curtin Winsor, Jr. was selected by President Reagan to be U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica from 1983 to 1985. He served there during the Contra war in Nicaragua and his mission also included the reform of Costa Rica’s economic structure. Ambassador Winsor also served as Senior Consultant on Central America to the Under Secretary of Defense from 1985 to 1987.
He served as Manager for International Affairs at the Washington Office of the Chase Manhattan Bank from 1973 to 1979. At the request of Chase’s Chairman, David Rockefeller, he served as Deputy Director of the Alliance for Free Enterprise, an entity formed to support free trade and free market issues, from 1979 to 1983.
Ambassador Winsor received his B. A. from Brown University in 1961, his M. A on Latin American Area Studies in 1964, and his Ph.D. in International Studies from the School of International Service of American University, Washington, D.C. in 1971.
Hans von Spakovsky
Hans von Spakovsky is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on elections and election reform. He is manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow in Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
He is the co-author with John Fund of the book “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” (Encounter Books, 2012).
Before joining Heritage in 2008, Mr. von Spakovsky served two years as a member of the Federal Election Commission, the authority charged with enforcing campaign finance laws for congressional and presidential elections, including public funding.
He has served on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and on the Fulton County (Ga.) Board of Registrations and Elections. He is a former vice chairman of the Fairfax County (Va.) Electoral Board and a former member of the Virginia Advisory Board to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
A 1984 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, Mr. von Spakovsky received his B.S. degree in 1981 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hon. Charles J. Cooper
Charles J. Cooper is a renowned civil and constitutional lawyer. As chairman of Cooper & Kirk PLLC, he has represented a variety of private and government clients and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The National Law Journal named him among the 10 best civil litigators in Washington, D.C. After serving as a clerk to Judge Paul Roney in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist, Mr. Cooper worked in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan Administration. Mr. Cooper has B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Alabama.
Amb. J. Kenneth Blackwell
Ken Blackwell is a member of the Board of Directors of ACRU Action Fund and the Policy Board of ACRU. Mr. Blackwell has had a vast political career. He was mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He has served on the congressionally appointed National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform and the board of the International Republican Institute. He was Co-Chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board from 1999-2001.
He has received many awards and honors for his work in the public sector. These accolades include the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award for his work in the field of human rights which he received from both the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2004, the American Conservative Union honored Mr. Blackwell with the John M. Ashbrook Award for his steadfast conservative leadership.
Ken’s commentaries have been published in major newspapers and websites: TheWall Street Journal, USA Today, TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, TheWashington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily. In addition, he has been interviewed by many media outlets including CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and Fox News Sunday. He is a national bestselling author of three books: Rebuilding America: A Prescription For Creating Strong Families, Building The Wealth Of Working People, And Ending Welfare; The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency; and Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.
His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. Mr. Blackwell has also received honorary doctoral degrees from ten institutions of higher education. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University in Ohio, where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted into Xavier’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
Policy Board Emeritus
Hon. Linda Chavez (Emeritus)
Linda Chavez was Director of Public Liaison in the Reagan White House and served as Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1983 to 1985. She is currently President of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Washington, D.C. Chavez was editor of the prize winning quarterly journal of the American Federation of Teachers, American Educator (1977 to 1983). She also served as U.S. Expert on the United Nations Sub-commission on Human Rights (1992 to 1996).
Many know Chavez from her syndicated column, which appears in newspapers across the country. She writes often for many other publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Commentary, and Reader’s Digest. She also makes regular appearances on “The McLaughlin Group,” “CNN & Co.,” “To the Contrary,” and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.”
She is the author of Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation (Basic Books 1991), which chronicles the untold story of Hispanic progress and achievement and addresses the implications of bilingual education, voting rights, immigration, and affirmative action. The Denver Post said that the book “should explode the stereotypes about Hispanics that have clouded the minds of patronizing liberals and xenophobic conservatives alike.”
Dr. James Q. Wilson (Emeritus)
Dr. James Q. Wilson (May 27, 1931 – March 2, 2012) was a professor of government at Harvard from 1961 to 1986 and from then until 1997 the James Collins Professor of Management at UCLA.
He was the author or co-author of fourteen books, the most recent of which are The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families (Harper Collins, 2002), Moral Judgment (Basic Books), and The Moral Sense (Free Press). His other publications include American Government, Bureaucracy, Thinking About Crime, Varieties of Police Behavior, Political Organizations, and Crime and Human Nature (with Richard J. Herrnstein) In addition, he edited or contributed to books on urban problems, government regulation of business, and the prevention of delinquency among children, including Crime and Public Policy, From Children to Citizens: Families, Schools, and Delinquency Prevention, Understanding and Controlling Crime, and Drugs and Crime.
Dr. Wilson served on a number of national commissions concerned with public policy. He was chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime in 1966, Chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention in 1972 to 1973, a member of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Violent Crime in 1981, and a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1985 to 1991. Until 1993, he was chairman of the board of directors of the Police Foundation. In 1990, he received the James Madison award for distinguished scholarship from the American Political Science Association (APSA) and in 1991 to 1992 served as that organization’s president. In 1994, the APSA presented him with the John Gaus Award for exemplary scholarship in public administration. The American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences presented him with the Bruce Smith Award for “outstanding contributions to criminal justice.”
Educated at the University of Redlands (A.B. 1952) and the University of Chicago (Ph.D. 1959), Dr. Wilson received honorary degrees from six universities (including Harvard University).
Judge Robert H. Bork (Emeritus)
Judge Robert H. Bork (March 1, 1927 – December 19, 2012) served as Solicitor General of the United States from 1973 to 1977, acting U.S. Attorney General from 1973 to 1974, and Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1982 to 1988. He served as the Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Public Law at Yale Law School from 1962 to 1981 with time off to serve as Solicitor General.
He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on July 1st, 1987 but his confirmation was denied by the Senate. In February 1988, he resigned as Circuit Judge and joined the American Enterprise Institute until November 2003.
He was the author of two best-selling books, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of The Law and Slouching Towards Gomorrah. Judge Bork received his B.A. from The University of Chicago 1948 and his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School in 1953.
Christopher Coates (Emeritus)
Christopher Coates served as ACRU General Counsel from March 2015 – April 2017 and is the former Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
He worked in the Voting Section from 1996 through 2009 and while there was involved in numerous voting rights suits on behalf of black, American Indian, and Hispanic voters. He was also the lead attorney in U.S. v. Brown, the first case ever filed by the Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act that successfully challenged racial discrimination by minority election officials against white voters. He was also the supervising attorney in U.S. v. New Black Panther Party, a case that challenged the voter intimidation practices of a black racist organization and that was dismissed in large part by the Obama administration after it took office. In 2007, he was awarded the Walter W. Barnett Memorial Award, the Civil Rights Division’s second highest award for excellence in advocacy.
In 2012 and as an attorney in private practice, Mr. Coates was one of the attorneys who successfully represented the State of South Carolina in its defense of its voter photo ID law. As an attorney with the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1976 through 1984, he represented numerous minority plaintiffs in voting and other civil rights cases. From 1985 to 1996, he was in private practice in Milledgeville, Georgia where he continued his voting rights and other civil rights practice as well as participation in representation of local governments. In 1991, he was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Decade Award by the Georgia NAACP for his work in voting rights and civil rights law.
Over his 42 year legal career, he has spoken to various organizations of both conservative and liberal perspective, including bar associations, on the subject of voting rights. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967 and from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1972. He presently resides in Charleston, SC.
Dean J. Clayburn La Force (Emeritus)
J. Clayburn La Force, Jr. is Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He served as Dean of the Anderson School from 1978 until 1993. He was chairman of President Reagan’s Task Force on Food Assistance from 1983 to 1984 and a member of the National Council on the Humanities from 1981 to 1988.
In 1985, he received the Invest-in-America National Council’s American Eagle Award, and in 1986, was honored by the Reason Foundation. Dean La Force has received an honorary doctorate degree in social sciences from the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, and was the recipient of Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, and American Philosophical Society academic research fellowships. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Dean La Force is an adjunct scholar of The Heritage Foundation and a member of The Mont Pelerin Society. He also is a board member of the Foundation for Research in Economics and Education, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Pacific Academy for Advanced Studies, and the Foundation Francisco Marroquin.
Hon. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson (Emeritus)
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson (August 3, 1944 – May 1, 2014) was chairman of U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees all non-military U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio and TV Martí, and the new broadcasting initiative in the Middle East.
Tomlinson, former editor-in-chief for Reader’s Digest, had more than 35 years of journalistic experience. He began his career as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1965. In 1968, he joined the Washington bureau of Reader’s Digest then served as a correspondent in Vietnam, and eventually in Paris, where he covered events in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Tomlinson Director of the Voice of America, where he served until 1984. After his tenure at VOA, Tomlinson returned to Reader’s Digest to serve as managing editor. He was subsequently named executive editor of the Digest in 1985 and editor-in-chief in 1989 until his retirement in 1996.
Hon. Kenneth W. Starr (Emeritus)
Judge Kenneth W. Starr served as Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 to January 1993. He argued twenty-five cases before the Supreme Court and represented the U.S. government on legal issues involving regulatory and constitutional statutes. He also served as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1983 to 1989, as counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith from 1981 to 1983, and as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975 to 1977 and Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973 to 1974. Judge Starr served as Independent Counsel for five Executive Branch investigations, including Whitewater, from August 1994 to October 1999.
Judge Starr assumed the presidency of Baylor University on June 1, 2010, following many years as Dean of the Pepperdine Law School, and a partner with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, P.C., specializing in appellate work. He has taught Issues in Constitutional Law as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and as a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law. He published his first book First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life, which is described by United States Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle as “eminently readable and informative… not just the best treatment to date of the Court after Warren, it is likely to have that distinction for a long, long time.”
Having received his B.A. from George Washington University in 1968 and his M.A. from Brown University in 1969, Judge Starr graduated from The Duke Law School with a J.D. degree in 1973. He was Note and Comment Editor of the Duke Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. He has been admitted to the California, District of Columbia, and Virginia Bars.
Hon. William Bradford Reynolds (1942-2019)
William Bradford Reynolds served as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States under Erwin N. Griswold and as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Reagan Administration, where he provided legal and policy advice to the Attorney General of the United States on sensitive and confidential matters. In addition, he supervised and managed all aspects of the Civil Rights Division activities in the Justice Department, supervising some 165 lawyers and 265 support staff.
He later became a Senior Litigation Partner at the law firm of Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott, PLLC. Mr. Reynolds is currently a litigation partner at Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White LLP, a global law firm with more than 560 attorneys and other professionals. He is responsible for general litigation for both corporate and individual clients covering a broad array of business issues, including mergers, acquisitions and relocations, antitrust, health care, securities law, labor relations, patents and trademarks, communications, environmental, employment, bankruptcy, real estate transactions, and general contracts.
Mr. Reynolds was educated at Vanderbilt University, (J.D., Order of the Coif, 1967) and Yale University, (B.A., 1964).