Jeh Johnson - On the State of American Democracy

October 14, 2021
12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET

THE DONA AND CAROL HAMILTON DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES was established by Charles Hamilton, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Columbia University, as an annual event hosted by the Department of Political Science to honor the life and work of his late wife, Dona, and daughter, Carol. The Lectures present distinguished speakers to address compelling topics on justice and fairness in our contemporary world.




JEH JOHNSON is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and the former Secretary of Homeland Security (2013-2017) and former General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2012). Earlier in his career, Johnson was General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (1998-2001), and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (1989-1991). Johnson is the 2018 recipient of the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, presented at the Reagan Presidential Library, for “contribut[ing] greatly to the defense of our nation,” and “guiding us through turbulent times with courage and wisdom.” In private life, in addition to practicing law Johnson is now on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, U.S. Steel, the Council on Foreign Relations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the Center for a New American Security, and is a trustee of Columbia University.


RICHARD BRIFFAULT is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School. His research, writing, and teaching focus on state and local government law; the news media often turns to him for analysis of issues central to democracy and the political process such as campaign finance reform, government ethics, gerrymandering, and fair elections. Briffault has written more than 75 law review and journal articles as well as books and monographs, including Dollars and Democracy: A Blueprint for Campaign Finance Reform and the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th editions of the casebook State and Local Government Law.

ESTER R. FUCHS is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and is the Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. Professor Fuchs serves as Director of, an online voter engagement initiative for New York City.


WILMOT JAMES is Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), Columbia University. As a former Member of Parliament in South Africa and spokesman on health, Dr. James developed an enduring interest in global health security policy formulation. He also serves as a senior biosecurity consultant to the Washington, DC based Nuclear Threat Initiative. He was recently appointed to the G7 Global Partnership’s Africa Signature Initiative on Biosecurity.

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO is the Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He is also President of The Academy of Political Science and Editor of Political Science Quarterly

Event Co-Sponsors

Columbia University's Department of Political Science
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP)
The Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
Columbia Global Centers
The Academy of Political Science

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