Speaker Bios


Barry W. Ashe, AAAL Fellow
Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana

Barry W. Ashe is a partner at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a fellow of the Academy. He heads the firm’s appellate practice group. Mr. Ashe served as a law clerk to Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He serves as vice president of the Fifth Circuit for the Federal Bar Association; served as president of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter; and received the chapter’s John R. “Jack” Martzell Professionalism Award in 2015. Mr. Ashe has served on the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the Fifth Circuit and has held the position of adjunct professor in constitutional law at Loyola University School of Law.


Jack Bass
Author, Unlikely Heroes, Charleston, South Carolina

Jack Bass is author or co-author of eight books about the American South, focusing on politics, race relations, and the role of the law in shaping the civil rights area. He is professor emeritus of humanities and social sciences at the College of Charleston and was previously a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. Mr. Bass produced a Public Broadcasting Service documentary, A Different Dixie: Portraits of Change. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 1994 for Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and was twice named South Carolina’s journalist of the year. Mr. Bass is the author of Unlikely Heroes, a vivid account of the implementation of Brown v. Board of Education by southern federal judges committed to the rule of law.


Lyle W. Cayce
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana

Lyle W. Cayce is the clerk of court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He previously served 27 years with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he represented the Army in appeals to 11 circuit courts of appeals. Mr. Cayce is a member of the Information Technology Advisory Council, which recommends deployment of information technology programs, systems, and services for the judiciary. He has also worked with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and Judicial Conference of the United States.


Adam H. Charnes, AAAL Fellow
Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP, Dallas, Texas

Adam H. Charnes is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Dallas, Texas, and is a fellow of the Academy. He served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Charnes has served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice and received the attorney general’s Distinguished Service Award.


Kristen Clarke
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C.

Kristen Clarke is president and executive director of the Lawyers’Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She previously served as head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General’s Office and worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division. Ms. Clarke speaks and writes regularly on issues concerning race, law, and justice and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.


The Hon. Gregg J. Costa
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Houston, Texas

Judge Gregg J. Costa is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Costa previously served as a federal district judge for the Southern District of Texas and as a federal prosecutor for seven years. Before becoming a prosecutor, Judge Costa was in private practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Judge Costa served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Judge Costa is co-founder and board member of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, a nonprofit educational organization that prepares low-income students for college through after-school and summer programs.


The Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Houston, Texas

Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She previously served as judge of the 190th District Court of Harris County, Texas, and, before serving on the bench, practiced law at Baker Botts LLP. She served as a law clerk to Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas and as board chair of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Lone Star Legal Aid. Judge Elrod has received the Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, received the Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee Award for her pro bono work, and been named the Appellate Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists.


The Hon. Stephen A. Higginson
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana

Judge Stephen A. Higginson is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before taking the bench, he taught full time at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where he received the Outstanding Teacher Award for the University and three times was named Professor of the Year for the College of Law. Before joining academia, Judge Higginson served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts and the Eastern District of Louisiana, where he served as chief of appeals. Judge Higginson served as a law clerk to Justice Byron White of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


Deborah S. Hunt
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Cincinnati, Ohio

Deborah S. Hunt is the clerk of court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She has worked for the judiciary for 27 years. Previously, she was in private practice, worked as a public defender, and was an attorney for the Navajo Nation with the U.S. Department of Justice.


David Keltner, AAAL Fellow
Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP, Fort Worth, Texas

Justice David E. Keltner is a partner at Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a fellow of the Academy. He previously served as a justice of the Texas Second Court of Appeals. Justice Keltner is a former chair of the board of the State Bar of Texas, former chair of the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation, and former member of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. He received the Texas Bar Foundation’s inaugural Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award. Texas Lawyer has named him the “Go To” Texas Lawyer for appeals, and for the last 10 years he has been named as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in Texas by Texas Super Lawyers, being the“top point getter” for three of those years.


Madeleine M. Landrieu
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana

Madeleine M. Landrieu is the dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. She previously served as a judge on the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit and as a trial judge on the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana. Dean Landrieu served as president of the Louisiana District Judges Association and the Louisiana Judicial College. She received the Michaelle Pitard Wynne Professionalism Award from the Association of Women Attorneys and the inaugural President’s Award from the Louisiana Judicial College.


Moon Landrieu
Former Mayor of the City of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

Maurice Edwin “Moon” Landrieu is a former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana. After leaving office, he served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Carter administration. He served as a judge on the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit from 1992 until his retirement in 2000.


Luther T. Munford, AAAL Fellow
Butler Snow, Ridgeland, Mississippi

Luther T. Munford is a partner at Butler Snow in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and is a fellow and past president of the Academy. He served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Paul H. Roney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Munford has served on the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules to the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the Fifth Circuit. He is the author of Mississippi Appellate Practice.


Michael H. Rubin, AAAL Fellow
McGlinchey Stafford, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Michael H. Rubin is a partner at McGlinchey Stafford PLLC in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is a fellow of the Academy. He is a past president of the U.S. Federal Fifth Circuit Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents. Mr. Rubin is a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a commissioner for the Uniform Law Commission and has served as an adjunct professor at LSU Law School and Tulane Law School. He has been named the Distinguished Attorney of Louisiana by the Louisiana Bar Foundation and received the Burton Award from the Library of Congress and the Stephen Victory Award from the Louisiana State Bar Association for outstanding legal writing.


The Hon. Carl E. Stewart
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Shreveport, Louisiana

Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He previously served as captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, a staff attorney with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, assistant U.S. attorney, special assistant city and district attorney, and a private practitioner. Chief Judge Stewart also served as judge of the Louisiana First Judicial District Court and Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit. He serves as president of the American Inns of Court Foundation. Chief Judge Stewart is a member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He is a past chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Chief Judge Stewart is a member of the National Bar Association Judicial Council and the Just the Beginning Foundation of African-American Federal Judges.


Jonathan Turley
George Washington School of Law, Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Turley is a professor and the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, as well as a nationally recognized legal scholar on constitutional law. His articles regularly appear in national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Professor Turley is a nationally ranked legal commentator, being ranked the 38th most cited public intellectual and the second most cited law professor in the country. He is a member of the USA Today board of contributors and received the 2005 Single Issue Advocate of the Year, the annual opinion award from the Aspen Institute and The Week. Professor Turley has also worked as a legal analyst for CBS and NBC during national controversies.


Amy L. Weil, AAAL Fellow
The Weil Firm, Atlanta, Georgia

Amy L. Weil is a partner at The Weil Firm in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a fellow of the Academy. She previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, also serving as chief of the Appellate Division. She served on the U.S. Department of Justice’s Appellate Chiefs Working Group and received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award. Ms. Weil served as chair of the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the Eleventh Circuit, chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia, and president of the Federal Bar Association, Atlanta Chapter.


Edward Whelan
Ethics and Public Policy Center, The Federalist Society, Washington, D.C.

Edward Whelan is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and directs the Center’s program on The Constitution, The Courts, and The Culture. His areas of expertise include constitutional law and the judicial confirmation process. Mr. Whelen served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice and as general counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.


Beth A. Williams
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, Washington, D.C.

Beth A. Williams is the U.S. assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy. She served as a law clerk to Judge Richard C. Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was formerly a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and served as special counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Ms. Williams was president of the Federalist Society chapter at Harvard Law School.