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Press Release

Dr. Theodore R. Johnson Joins Brennan Center as Senior Fellow

Retired Navy commander and public policy scholar Dr. Theodore R. Johnson will join the Brennan Center this January as Senior Fellow.

January 18, 2018

Retired Navy commander and public policy scholar Dr. Theodore R. Johnson will join the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law this January as Senior Fellow. In this role, he will contribute to the Center’s influence on current policy debates, writing on the intersection of socioeconomic disparities and justice, undertaking long-term projects that advance the Center’s mission, and fostering partnerships with the academy and Washington think tank community.

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming Ted to the Brennan Center,” said John Kowal, vice-president for programs at the Brennan Center. “His impressive career of service, and public policy expertise will help elevate the Center’s charge at an important time for our issues. We have much to gain from his unique perspective.”

“I have followed the Brennan Center’s work for years and look forward to being part of the important work it’s doing to improve our systems of democracy and justice,” said Ted Johnson. “The Center’s mission to create a more just and inclusive America is aligned to the nation’s founding principles and is the only means by which we can make our Union more perfect. I’m honored to join the men and women of the Brennan Center toward this goal.”

Previously Johnson served as a national fellow at the New America Foundation, where he undertook projects on black voting behavior and the role of national solidarity in addressing racial inequality.

From 1994–2016 Johnson was a career military officer in the United States Navy, achieving the rank of Commander. His service included humanitarian assistance operations in Southeast Asia. He also acted as senior policy advisor in the Departments of Defense and Energy, and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In recognition of his leadership in public service, Johnson was selected as a White House Fellow during the Obama administration.

Johnson has an extensive record as a public policy scholar, focusing on race and politics. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, POLITICO, WIRED, National Review, and other national publications. His academic lectures and media engagements include appearances at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, UCLA’s Hammer Museum, University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and TEDx.

Johnson serves as professor at Georgetown and Northeastern University, where he will continue teaching two graduate courses. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Hampton University where he was a Presidential Scholar, a Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard University, and a Doctorate of Law and Policy from Northeastern University where his doctoral work on African American voting behavior won the Dean’s Medal. He joins the Brennan Center on January 22, 2018.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Beatriz Aldereguia (, 646–292–8369).