Professor Alexis Hoag-Fordjour Selected as Constitutional Accountability Center’s Inaugural Scholar-in-Residence


Nonprofit progressive think tank and law firm the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) announced on Feb. 7 that it has chosen Professor Alexis Hoag-Fordjour as its inaugural scholar-in-residence. CAC is dedicated to fulfilling the inherently progressive promise of the Constitution’s text, history, and values. It works in the courts, through the government, and in collaboration with legal scholars to advance the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, and to help create an equitable and just society.

Beginning on July 1, 2024, Hoag-Fordjour, Brooklyn Law School’s Dean’s Research Scholar and Co-Director of the Center for Criminal Justice, will be focusing her one-year residency on scholarship surfacing the historical context of Reconstruction to provide a clarifying framework for interpreting rights in the present.

Hoag-Fordjour will also participate in the life of CAC’s ongoing litigation work, such as contributing to amicus briefs, communications, and collaboration with progressive movement partners.

“I am thrilled at this opportunity, as it will enable me to further develop my scholarship and to be in community with CAC's dynamic staff,” Hoag Fordjour said. “The scholar-in-residence position also offers opportunities to bring CAC to Brooklyn Law to engage with our faculty and students around issues involving the Constitution.”

Hoag-Fordjour’s previous collaboration with CAC includes her essay, “Reclaiming Reconstruction,” contributed to CAC’s 10th anniversary re-release of its text Laying Claim to the Constitution: The Promise of New Textualism.

“My research agenda at CAC is a continuation of a scholarly arc that began with my transition into academia,” Hoag-Fordjour said. “Reconstruction is a fertile area for expansive thinking about contemporary civil rights. After the 12-year period from 1865 to 1877, the federal courts and the executive branch truncated the full reach of Reconstruction. But the groundwork remains. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments each contain an enforcement clause that gave Congress the authority to pass additional laws to advance the aims of Reconstruction. It’s a period when lawmakers were reconsidering the entire framework of the Constitution. Reconstruction’s potential reach is broad and untapped.

“In teaching Criminal Procedure, Abolition, and Evidence at Brooklyn Law School, I have conversations with students about how much more the Constitution could be doing. We see this in Supreme Court Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson’s questions in oral arguments, and in Justices Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor’s authored opinions in dissent. Congress intended the Constitution to be a forward-thinking, malleable document. The opportunity to focus on how this period of constitutional history can shape the present is very exciting.”

CAC’s scholar-in-residence is made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.