Online Exclusives

Making Better Policies

The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy has announced the residencies of this semester’s two Senior Fellows, each of whom will teach in the law and public policy seminar, deliver a public lecture, and engage with the BC and Rappaport communities over separate three-day periods.

Ajmel Quereshi (above left), senior counsel at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), speaks March 15 from 4 to 5 p.m. on “Defunding vs. Reforming the Police: Varying Approaches to Addressing Police Misconduct in the 21st Century.”

Jonathan Miller, legal director at the Public Rights Project (PRP), will give his address, “Towards Equitable Enforcement: Moving Beyond the Squeaky Wheel Problem of a Complaint-Based System,” on March 22  from 4 to 5 p.m.  

At the NAACP, Quereshi maintains a diverse caseload spearheading LDF’s work in the areas of education and economic justice, among others. In 2019, he led LDF’s efforts in Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education, a case on behalf of a class of school children in Baltimore who have been denied a constitutionally adequate education. In 2018, he served as lead counsel for LDF in multiple suits challenging the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suspension of housing regulations that would have made housing more accessible and affordable.

Beyond his work at LDF, Quereshi serves as director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, where he also has taught courses in Torts, Federal Civil Rights, and Appellate Litigation. Under his direction, the clinic has filed amicus briefs in several cases before the US Supreme Court. In 2018, the clinic filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. His teaching has been recognized by Harvard Law School, which awarded him, in 2016, a Wasserstein Fellowship. 

Quereshi’s editorial writings have appeared in the Baltimore Sun and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has published articles in several legal journals on topics ranging from international environmental law to the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and his cases have been featured in the New York Times and the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” among others.

In his community address at BC Law, Quereshi will focus on the limitations of police reform and explore whether defunding is a workable approach. Register: bit.ly/rappMar15

At PRP, Miller oversees the nonprofit’s partnerships with more than 60 state and local government offices, fellowship programs for early- and mid-career attorneys, and advocacy through litigation, amicus brief, and strategic engagement. The organization works to bridge the gap between the promise of our laws and the lived experiences of marginalized and historically disenfranchised groups.

Miller’s address will expose some of the flaws in the existing case-selection model used by prosecutors and other enforcement agencies.

Prior to joining PRP, Miller was chief of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. In that role, he oversaw a 150-person team engaged in investigations, litigation, and other advocacy in the areas of civil rights, consumer protection, insurance and financial services, and workers’ rights. Miller also served as chief of the Civil Rights Division. He was co-counsel with Attorney General Maura Healey in the successful challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and helped lead a team that secured more than $100 million of consumer relief in an enforcement action against a subprime lender following the financial crisis of last decade.

Miller’s portfolio of work has included a wide range of matters from those brought on behalf of individuals facing housing discrimination or violation of their civil rights to US Supreme Court advocacy on national topics such as affirmative action, reproductive rights, and marriage equality. He has participated actively in major litigation, regulatory efforts, community engagement, and legislative advocacy throughout his tenure at the Attorney General’s Office and now at the Public Rights Project.

More recently, Miller’s docket has involved several challenges to policy initiatives and administrative actions under President Trump. He participated in or oversaw Massachusetts’s cases challenging the travel bans, the termination of the DACA program, regulations that would permit employers to deny contraceptive coverage to their workers, and several actions by the Department of Education affecting access to relief for students negatively impacted by for-profit schools. He also helped to lead an initiative partnering with the Massachusetts Medical Society to develop instructional materials and other information for medical providers to engage in gun safety conversations with their patients.

Miller received a BA in history from Dartmouth College and JD from Columbia Law School. He has taught courses at Harvard Law School, Northeastern University School of Law, and Suffolk University Law School. A former college baseball player, he lives in Brookline with his wife and their two young sons.

His address to the BC community will expose some of the flaws in the existing case-selection model used by prosecutors and other enforcement agencies, and begin to posit strategies to illuminate a pathway forward for more effective and equitable enforcement. Register: bit.ly/rappMar22

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