Women's Show - NAN ARON, president, ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE

04/10/04

The Alliance for Justice is a national association of more than 65 public interest and civil rights organizations. Founded in 1979, the Alliance works to advance the cause of justice for all Americans, strengthen the public interest community's influence on public policy and to train and inspire a new generation of public interest advocates.

Nan Aron founded the organization and serves as its president She is nationally recognized for her vast expertise in public interest law, the federal judiciary and citizen participation in public policy. She is the author of Liberty and Justice for All: Public Interest Law in the 1980s and Beyond and has appeared as an expert in such media outlets as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Vanity Fair and National Public Radio. She is also a frequent guest speaker at universities, law schools, corporations, nonprofits and foundations.

Nan has taught at Georgetown and George Washington University Law Schools, and serves on the Dean's Advisory Council at American University's Washington College of Law. She has served as Executive Producer for several award-winning films on immigration, courageous judges, and gun violence.

Mary spoke with Nan about two of the Alliance's projects.

    JUDICIAL ADVOCACY

Advancing a fair and independent judiciary

The federal judiciary has a profound impact on the every day lives of all Americans. Our Judicial Selection Project monitors the selection process, investigating and reporting on judicial nominations at all levels of the federal bench, to support the confirmation of judges who are fair, independent and respectful of civil rights, women's rights, environmental protections, reproductive freedom and social justice. Through the Judicial Selection Project, we help lead a broad coalition of civil rights, environmental, social justice, and public interest groups organized to evaluate and advocate around the judicial selection issue. The Project also works to increase public awareness and participation in the judicial selection and confirmation process, through focused communications and grassroots efforts that inform decision makers, the media, public interest groups, lawyers and law professors and the larger public about the process and specific nominees.

NONPROFIT & FOUNDATION ADVOCACY Strengthening the voice of nonprofits in public policy

The nonprofit community offers a wealth of resources, information, and the talent of thousands of people to provide needed services and to address the critical issues facing our country. Through our Nonprofit Advocacy Project, we work with thousands of nonprofit groups to help them participate in developing sound and just public policy within the laws and regulations that govern advocacy by nonprofit organizations. As a result of this work, the Alliance for Justice increases the ability of the nonprofit sector to represent the interests of their millions of members to counteract the undue influence of large corporations and powerful special interests. To carry out their missions, many of these nonprofit groups depend on funding from the nation's more than 60,000 private, public and community foundations. To ensure that the philanthropic community understands how these rules affect them and their grantees, we have developed a companion program, the Foundation Advocacy Initiative, to keep them informed about their ability to support nonprofits in their quest to influence public policy.

Both projects provide a wide range of services, including technical assistance, targeted workshops, plain-language publications, online resources and a network of experts, specialists and information specifically tailored to the nonprofit and foundation communities to keep them informed about the legal framework regulating nonprofit advocacy. In an election year, and with the changes in the law mandated by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, it is especially critical that groups understand what they can and cannot do under the tax and election laws.

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