The Constitution Project is a non-profit think tank in the United States whose goal is to build bipartisan consensus on significant constitutional and legal questions. Its founder and president is Virginia Sloan. The Constitution Project’s work is divided between two programs: the Rule of Law Program and the Criminal Justice Program. Each program houses bipartisan committees focused on specific constitutional issues.[2]

Rule of Law Program

The Rule of Law Program addresses perceived threats to the rule of law and to constitutional liberties that have resulted from the assertions of expansive presidential authority in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress’s simultaneous failure to exercise its duties as a separate and independent branch of government, and efforts by both Congress and the President to strip the courts of their jurisdiction to oversee the actions of the executive and legislative branches.

Liberty and Security Committee

The Liberty and Security Committee of the Rule of Law Program is co-chaired by David D. Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, and David Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union.[3] The Committee is convened to address the “variety of important questions about how to enhance our security while simultaneously protecting our civil liberties.”[4] Members of the Committee have authored columns for major newspapers on , the , , and .

Padilla v. Rumsfeld, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 
The Constitution Project, with the Cato Institute, the , the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the Rutherford Institute, filed an in support of José Padilla.
Padilla v. Rumsfeld, Supreme Court of the United States 
The Constitution Project, with the Cato Institute, the , the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the Rutherford Institute, filed an in support of José Padilla.
Padilla v. Hanft, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 
The Constitution Project, with the , filed an in support of José Padilla.
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Supreme Court of the United States 
The Constitution Project filed an in support of Salim Ahmed Hamdan.
ACLU v. NSA, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 
The Constitution Project, with the , filed an in support of the ACLU.
Rahmani v. United States, Supreme Court of the United States 
The Constitution Project filed an urging the Court to grant certiorari to Roya Rahmani.
NIMJ v. Department of Defense, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit 
The Constitution Project filed an in support of the .
El-Masri v. United States 
The Constitution Project filed an urging the Court to grant certiorari to Khaled El-Masri.

Coalition to Defend Checks and Balances

The Coalition to Defend Checks and Balances is convened to address “the risk of permanent and unchecked presidential power, and the accompanying failure of Congress to exercise its responsibility as a separate and independent branch of government.[5] In addition to publishing its own statements and reports, the Coalition also joins statements and reports issued by other committees.

Reports and Statements

Statement on Presidential Signing Statements 
The “condemns certain uses of presidential signing statements and calls for immediate action from both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government to respond to a ‘constitutional crisis’ that is endangering our system of checks and balances.”[6]

Criminal Justice Program

The Criminal Justice Program seeks to counter a broad-based effort to deny fundamental day-in-court rights and due process protections to those accused of crimes.

Death Penalty Committee

The Death Penalty Committee of the Criminal Justice Program is co-chaired by Gerald Kogan, former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, and Beth Wilkinson, a prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case.[7] The Death Penalty Committee is a bipartisan committee of death penalty supporters and opponents who believe that the risk of wrongful executions in the United States is too high. It was formerly known as the National Committee to Prevent Wrongful Executions.[8]

Reports and Statements

Mandatory Justice – Eighteen Reforms to the Death Penalty 
The “expresses the Committee’s deep concerns with regard to the implementation of the death penalty in the United States, and calls for crucial reforms, including in the areas of effective counsel, racial fairness, and proportionality.”
Mandatory Justice – The Death Penalty Revisited 
An update to the Committee’s first publication on the topic, the notes “some improvements in recent years and identifies further steps that must still be taken in order to minimize mistakes and increase fairness and accuracy.”

Right to Counsel Committee

The Right to Counsel Committee is co-chaired by Walter Mondale (honorary), former Vice-President of the United States, William S. Sessions (honorary), a partner at Holland & Knight LLP, former Director of the FBI, and former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Rhoda Billings, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Robert Johnson, District Attorney for Anoka County, Minnesota, and former President of the National District Attorneys Association, and Timothy K. Lewis, counsel at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP and former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[9]

Task Force on Detainee Treatment

In the fall of 2010, the Constitution Project initiated an eleven-person Task Force on Detainee Treatment.[11][13]

Members

name[15]notes
Eleanor J. Hill
Asa Hutchinson
James R. JonesFormer Ambassador to Mexico
Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte
Richard A. Epstein
David P. Gushee
Azizah al-Hibri
David IrvineBrigadier General, USA (Ret.)
William S. Sessions
Gerald E. Thomson
Patricia M. WaldJudge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Award for Constitutional Commentary

Since 2007, the Constitution Project has recognized the author or producer of an outstanding work that has improved the quality of public discourse through insightful and articulate analysis of the constitutional implications of a major issue of the day.

Past winners of the Constitutional Commentary Award include:

2007
Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage for his book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency & the Subversion of American Democracy
2008
New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse for her body of work covering the U.S. Supreme Court

Board of directors

The Constitution Project is governed by a board of directors. The Board is currently chaired by , a partner at the law firm of Skadden Arps who previously served as an attorney-advisor to the IRS and as chief counsel to the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service.[2] Other members of the Board include:

 
Managing Director at Bay City Capital LLC and former Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to Vice President Al Gore
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar 
Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford University and former Obama and Clinton Administration official
Kristine Huskey 
Associate Clinical Professor and Director at the Veterans’ Advocacy Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law at The University of Arizona, and former Director of the Anti-Torture Program at Physicians for Human Rights
Asa Hutchinson 
Former Member of Congress (R-AR) and former Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security, and Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under President George W. Bush
 
Former Republican state legislator, retired Army brigadier general, and former instructor of prisoner-of-war interrogation and military law at the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School
David Keene 
Former chair of the American Conservative Union and Nixon Administration official
AbdAllah El Bey 
Minister of Jurisprudence Private Attorney General Director of Constitutional Studies at the Moorish American National Govt
Timothy K. Lewis 
Co-chair of the appellate practice at the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis LLP and former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
 
Partner at the law firm of Jones Day and co-chair of the Trial Practice Committee of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section
William S. Sessions 
Partner at the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations and former chief judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Jane C. Sherburne 
Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel to The Bank of New York Mellon, member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States and former Clinton Administration official
Bradley D. Simon 
Founding Partner of Simon & Partners LLP and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
 
President and Founder of the Constitution Project

Board members Emeritus include:

Mickey Edwards 
Former Member of Congress (R-OK) and Vice President and Director of the Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership Program at the Aspen Institute
 
Dean of The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Dr. Morton H. Halperin 
Director of US Advocacy at the Open Society Institute – DC
 
Founder of the Community Services Team at the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP
 
Former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs
 
Retired Partner at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP