Clemency: A Constitutional Power Moves into the Future

The spring symposium of the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.

Date & Time:

Friday, March 29, 2019
8:30 AM - 3:00 PM



University of St. Thomas School of Law
1101 Harmon Place, Minneapolis
Interactive Map and Driving Directions


CLE application pending (270165)

The past 5 years have seen a revival of the principled use of the pardon power. Our experts include political scientists, advocates, and those who have been incarcerated. This symposium will examine where this revival goes next. Join us for an unprecedented discussion.

Speakers will include:

  • Roy L. Austin, Jr., partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
  • Erin R. Collins, assistant professor, Richmond School of Law
  • Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor, American University
  • Jason Hernandez, clemency recipient and Soros Justice Fellow, Open Society Foundations
  • Mark V. Holden, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, Koch Industries, Inc.
  • Shon Hopwood, associate professor, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Paul J. Larkin, Jr., the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies
  • Rudy Martinez, advocate and clemency recipient
  • Mark Osler, professor and Robert & Marion Short Distinguished Chair, University of St. Thomas School of Law
  • Amy Ralston Povah, president, CAN-DO Foundation
  • Nkechi Taifa, president and CEO, The Taifa Group, LLC
  • Arthur Waldon, lawyer, Law Office of Charles L. Hawkins
  • Gwen Walz, First Lady of Minnesota, teacher and advocate

Keynote speaker: Alice Marie Johnson, clemency recipient, author, criminal justice reform advocate and Buried Alive Fellow

Alice Marie Johnson earned national attention when reality star Kim Kardashian West advocated for her release from prison. She was reunited with her family when President Donald Trump granted her clemency on June 6, 2018. Alice had been serving a mandatory life sentence without parole for her first and only conviction in a nonviolent drug case. During her nearly 22 years of incarceration, Alice accomplished what has been termed by many as “extraordinary rehabilitation” and received numerous awards. She was an invited guest and was recognized at the 2019 State of the Union Address by President Trump. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was honored at the United Nations as a “Women’s Rights Defender.” Now an author, Alice has completed her memoir to be published in May. President Trump’s monumental decision to grant Alice clemency has shined a light on the need to fix a broken system. Alice enjoys being a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Tentative Schedule:

8:30-8:45 a.m. - Continental Breakfast and Check In     
8:45-9:00 a.m. - Welcome and Introduction     
9:00-10:15 a.m. - Panel 1 - Clemency and President Obama’s Legacy
10:15-10:30 a.m. - Break
10:30-11:45 a.m. - Panel 2 - Advocacy
11:45-12:00 p.m. - Break
12-12:30 p.m. - Mass (optional)    
12:30-1:30 p.m. - Keynote Address - Alice Marie Johnson 
1:30-1:45 p.m. - Break
1:45-3:00 p.m. - Panel 3 - Clemency: Past to Future

Application for 4.5 hours of Standard CLE Credit submitted (270165).

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.