This volume is a sample of the Brennan Center’s work on all fronts in the fight for democracy and justice in 2012. Material is drawn from Brennan Center reports, policy proposals, and issue briefs, in addition to public remarks, legal briefs, Congressional testimony, and op-ed pieces delivered at Brennan Center events or written by Brennan Center staff.
The Declaration of Independence proclaims we are all “created equal.” Each generation measures the institutions of its day against that founding ideal. When those institutions are wanting, we change them.
That’s the American story. In 2012, the Brennan Center for Justice wrote a new chapter in that story.
Among our achievements: We exposed, and opposed, a new wave of laws that would curb voting for the first time since the Jim Crow era. At least 5 million could have found it far harder to vote. To a remarkable degree, we prevailed, leading a national effort to block those laws. The Center stepped forward as one of the nation’s leading voices for reform.
We continued to work to remedy the deleterious consequences of Citizens United. We crafted an innovative plan for small donor public financing. We fought to stop filibusters from paralyzing the Senate. We insisted on accountability and transparency in the fight against terrorism. And we initiated a major effort to address a great moral and economic issue of our time: mass incarceration in the United States.
We are proud of our work and proud of how we do it. As a think tank, legal advocacy group, and cutting edge communications hub, we are forging a new model for change. We are fiercely non-partisan, fact-based — and independent. We knew we were onto something when, in the same month, Rachel Maddow and the National Review praised our work.
This volume offers a taste of that work in 2012.
We are continuing these fights into 2013 on new terrain. President Barack Obama, in his Inaugural Address and State of the Union, urged the country to address voting reform. We will press forward with our plan to modernize voter registration, which would add 50 million to the rolls — permanently. And we will continue to devise other new ideas for a new democracy. That’s how we can make real the American promise of true civic equality.