AFJ Letter of Support for Sarah Russell
The Honorable Richard Durbin
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Chairman Durbin:
On behalf of Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing more than 150 public interest and civil rights organizations, I write to urge you to confirm Professor Sarah F. Russell to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut with the utmost speed.
Ms. Russell is a tremendous advocate whose work to safeguard the rights of imprisoned individuals testifies to her deep commitment to equal justice under law. A lifelong public servant, Ms. Russell started her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She went on to clerk for Judge Chester J. Straub of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Afterward, Ms. Russell joined the Offices of the Federal Public Defender in New Haven, Connecticut, where she honed her trial and appellate advocacy skills representing indigent criminal defendants.
In 2007, Russell joined the faculty of Yale Law School, overseeing the Prison Legal Services and Complex Federal Litigation clinics. Her work involved representing individuals in state and federal confinement cases, as well as supervising students in their pro bono representation of these individuals. In 2011, Russell joined the faculty of Quinnipiac University School of Law, where she currently serves as the Carmen Tortora Professor of Law. Ms. Russell oversees the Juvenile Sentencing Project, evaluating the treatment of children in the adult criminal justice system, and the Legal Clinic, which facilitates the pro bono representation of indigent clients. Her work has touched on everything from safeguarding the health of medically vulnerable incarcerated persons to contesting unjust reimprisonment.
Professor Russell is highly regarded within the Connecticut legal community for her expertise on criminal justice and sentencing issues. She was appointed by Governor Daniel Malloy to serve on the Connecticut Sentencing Commission and by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to serve on the Federal Grievance Committee and the Standing Committee on the Criminal Justice Act. Her appointment to these committees reflects not only her deep experience but also the confidence that both Connecticut’s state and federal luminaries have in her.
Professor Russell’s commitment to equal justice under law, combined with her extensive litigation experience and in-depth knowledge of the justice system, make her a terrific candidate for the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. We and our members join innumerable partners and allies in strongly supporting Russell’s nomination and encouraging the Senate to move quickly to secure her confirmation.
President, Alliance for Justice