Dobbs and Democracy

February 23, 2023
4:00 pm - 7:30 pm
WhereWalter Brown Hall 128 (WB128)
Sponsor(s)Journal of Law & Politics, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy

Reproductive rights scholar Melissa Murray will be the keynote speaker for the 40th annual Journal of Law & Politics Symposium, “Dobbs and Democracy.” Murray will speak at 6:30 p.m. in WB128.

Scholars, attorneys and public servants will consider if American democracy can address reproductive rights and what role state constitutions and prosecutorial discretion play after Dobbs. Food will be provided.

Event Details

Dobbs and Democracy


4 p.m.

Panel 1 | Can American Democracy Protect Reproductive Rights?


  • Shwetika Baijal, Senior Director of Campaigns, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
  • Natasha Chabria, Campaign Director, Immigrant Justice/Medication Abortion, All* Above All
  • Jennifer Lawless, Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor of Politics, Professor of Public Policy, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia
  • Ryan Snow ’18, Counsel, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Moderator: Michael Gilbert, Vice Dean, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

5 p.m.

Panel 2 | State Constitutions and Prosecutorial Discretion in a Post-Dobbs World


  • Sherry Boston, District Attorney, Dekalb County, Georgia
  • Mark Herring, Partner, Akin Gump, Former Attorney General of Virginia
  • Justin Murray, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School
  • Steve Descano, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Mila Versteeg, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, Director, Center for International & Comparative Law, Director, Human Rights Program, Senior Fellow, Miller Center, University of Virginia
  • Moderator: Anne Coughlin, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

6:30 p.m.

Keynote Address

  • Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network, New York University School of Law; Co-Host, “Strict Scrutiny” Podcast
  • Moderator: Bertrall Ross, Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law, Director, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy, University of Virginia School of Law