Santa Clara University School of Law’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service hosted its first Social Justice Thursdays speaker series event of the semester on February 9, 2023, in Charney Hall. The event featured Ann Ravel, former Chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and current international election administration observer and volunteer.
Ms. Ravel engaged in a thoughtful discussion with the center director and Voting Rights/Election Law lecturer, Caitlin Robinett Jachimowicz. The pair reflected on lessons learned from the midterm elections and democracy trends in the United States, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. Ralph Dimarucut, a second-year law student, moderated the conversation.
The Center is grateful for Ms. Ravel’s time and dedication to connecting with Santa Clara Law students, particularly considering her busy schedule and illustrious career. Not only was Ms. Ravel the Chair of the FEC and FPPC, but she also served as the Santa Clara County Counsel and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. Ms. Ravel has now taken her expertise abroad to assist in election monitoring in the pursuit of fair elections. When asked about taking time out of her busy schedule to address Santa Clara students, Ms. Ravel said “[d]emocracy, voting rights, and fairness are crucial to the progress of our country. Young people must understand these issues to fully participate as citizens and devise ways to make change.”
Professor Jachimowicz raised the topic of trends in youth voting participation, as well as the measurable impact the youth vote made in key battleground states, particularly in races for key election administration positions. Ms. Ravel discussed the way those trends are mirrored in Central and South America. Both speakers emphasized the importance of addressing the policy areas young voters see as important. This is because it is younger voters’ stated issues, not political parties or candidates, that drives their participation. The speakers challenged the participants to consider that although we have seen positive trends in democracy, the margins of victory in key races were thin enough to warrant continued concern and monitoring.
This in-person event was co-sponsored by the Center for Global Law and Policy. The recording of the event can be viewed online.
Caitlin Robinett Jachimowicz J.D. ’10 is the new Director of the Center for Social Justice and Public Service, dividing her time between the center and the new Public Interest J.D. program, which will welcome its first cohort of students in fall 2023, as well as serving as adjunct faculty and advisor for students.
She is currently the elected Treasurer for the city of Morgan Hill and was formerly on the City Council. Passionate about giving back to her community, Caitlin sits on the board of the Edward Boss Prado Foundation, a non-profit in Morgan Hill, CA; and is on the Advisory Board for the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.
Caitlin is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law where she received a certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice. She also served as the Student Bar Association President, Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate, and participated in various organizations and community service groups throughout law school. Caitlin served as a law clerk for the Panetta Institute of Public Policy and was a Congressional Aide for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren before practicing criminal defense and civil litigation for over ten years.
In 2020, Caitlin was named one of the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” and
received the recognition of Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year.
Caitlin is married to fellow SCU Law alum, Josh Jachimowicz (’11), and they have two young