WILLIAM J BRENNAN JR CENTER FOR JUSTICE INC

aka Brennan Center for Justice   |   New York, NY   |  www.brennancenter.org

Mission

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center's work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

Ruling year info

1995

President

Michael Waldman

Main address

120 Broadway Suite 1750

New York, NY 10271 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3839293

NTEE code info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (V05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (R05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group — the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Democracy

The Brennan Center for Justice leads national efforts to ensure that citizens — not special interests or partisan operatives — are at the center of our politics. The Center’s Democracy Program brings national perspective and expertise in the fight to protect and promote voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting integrity, and a fair and independent judiciary.

Currently, there are two major threats to the integrity of our democracy. First, in recent years, we have seen the largest, most coordinated attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era. Second is the new dystopian world of unregulated campaign spending ushered in by Citizens United.

Other problems plague our systems of democracy, too. It's an open secret: more and more legislative districts reflect calculations by those in power about how they can best preserve that power, while fewer and fewer give meaningful representation to communities of voters. Public confidence in the courts is at a crisis point, exacerbated by an explosion in judicial election spending.

Collaborating with grassroots groups, advocacy organizations, and reform-minded government officials, we contribute cutting edge legal strategy, innovative policy development, empirical research for legal and policy efforts, and high-impact communications to advance our goals.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program advances data-driven, innovative, practical legal reforms to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all.” It seeks to create a rational and effective criminal and civil justice system that treats all people fairly and equally.

Our system of justice repeatedly and profoundly fails to live up to the American ideals of equality, fairness, and justice. Our criminal and civil legal systems are tarred with unfairness, injustices, disparities, and irrationality that disproportionately affect those who are the most in need of the law’s assistance. This dysfunction has led to 2.3 million Americans, disproportionately people of color, filling our prisons to the brim, most of whom are unnecessarily incarcerated.

Meanwhile, the United States faces a global economic crisis with reverberations in housing, education, employment, and government budgets. The program focuses on ending mass incarceration, racial justice, and closing the “justice gap” ensuring that all Americans have adequate ability to protect their rights.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our nation and its people must be kept safe from terrorism. At the same time, policies to protect safety are strongest when they honor core constitutional values. All systems — no matter how necessary — improve when they are held accountable. Unfortunately, in the years since 9/11, too often our national security system has tilted away from that critical balance.

The Brennan Center seeks effective national security policies that respect constitutional values and the rule of law while protecting our people. The Liberty and National Security program focuses on restoring the proper flow of information between the government and the people by securing increased public access to government information; ensuring government policies targeting terrorists do so effectively and without religious or ethnic profiling; and securing appropriate government oversight and accountability.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Incarcerated people

The Brennan Center is a leading intellectual force in developing policies that ensure everyone has a real chance to have their voice heard. We craft and fight for solutions that can bring balance to campaign funding and break down barriers that keep everyday Americans from participating in politics.

First, we seek to advance a new system of small donor public financing for federal and state elections. This would provide multiple matching funds for small gifts and give ordinary voters a far stronger voice in choosing our leaders.

Second, we work to improve disclosure laws so that the sources of political money are known. Transparency is necessary to empower voters to hold elected officials accountable.

We also seek a new legal context for money in politics: a long-term drive to overturn Citizens United and other misguided decisions, so that the Constitution is once again read as a charter for a self-governing democracy that includes all Americans.

Our research documents the dangers of big money in politics and informs our work to craft effective solutions. We work with policy makers and activists to help draft and enact legislation, defend campaign finance laws in court, and promote innovative policy solutions nationwide.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Through research, policy development, public education, and litigation, the Brennan Center promotes measures to protect judicial independence, achieve a diverse bench, and guard against political pressure and special interest influence on the courts.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Democracy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Brennan Center uses outreach events to inform the public about our work, to build consensus around our solutions, and drive increased public engagement in our democratic processes.

Number of affiliates speaking to government leaders about relevant policy issues

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Democracy

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Brennan Center's experts have formidable knowledge in issues surrounding our systems of democracy and justice — and because of their expertise, lawmakers regularly look to us for insight.

Number of reports written/published

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Democracy

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Brennan Center produces in-depth reports on issues of democracy, justice, and national security. Our exhaustive research provides the sources for groundbreaking solutions for the public.

Number of organizations signing onto policy guidelines or proposals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Ethnic and racial groups

Related Program

Democracy

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Brennan Center published "How to Protect the Vote from the Coronavirus" offering policy proposals used by more than 1,000 civil rights and good government groups and political scientists.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Protecting Voting Rights - The Center’s signature proposal, automatic voter registration, would save money, increase accuracy and participation — and add an additional 50 million voters to the rolls permanently.

Government and Court Reform - We support fair and impartial courts to promote equal justice and the rule of law. We fight to end government dysfunction and gridlock by curbing filibuster abuse and advocating an effective U.S. Congress. And we champion a transparent, nonpartisan redistricting process that provides fair and meaningful representation.

Justice for All - The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all” by creating a rational, effective, and fair justice system. Its priority focus is to reduce mass incarceration while keeping down crime. The program melds law, policy, and economics to produce new empirical analyses and innovative policy solutions to advance this critical goal.

The Brennan Center is known for our expertise in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice reform, government and fair court reform, and redistricting reform. In these areas and in others related to the U.S. Constitution, American democracy, and the rule of the law, the Brennan Center has the staff, expertise, and resources to do the following:

Devise fresh, practical, data-driven, bipartisan legal and policy reforms backed up by high caliber, rigorous research. The Center works tirelessly to ensure that lawmakers enact these vital policy reforms and advance democracy and justice.

Collaborate with grassroots groups, advocacy organizations, and reform-minded government officials, we contribute cutting edge legal strategy, innovative policy development, empirical research for legal and policy efforts, and high-impact communications to advance our goals.

Seek effective national security policies that respect constitutional values and the rule of law while protecting our people.

The Brennan Center uses a combination of inter-disciplinary research, innovative policy development, legislative advocacy, litigation, and communications work to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector. Our innovative approach to legal reform is bipartisan, driven by data and practicality soundly backed by rigorous research. Our staff experts work to ensure that lawmakers enact these new laws to advance democracy and justice. And if these laws are challenged, we defend their legality and reasonability in the courtroom. We also pursue litigation to block or overturn laws that dismantle existing protections or further restrict rights, and file friend-of-the-court briefs rich with data to inform courts of the practical effects of legal arguments.

The Brennan Center sued the Trump administration's third Muslim ban as being unconstitutional - and won (https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/brennan-center-wins-suit-against-trumps-third-muslim-ban-us-supreme-court-next)
The Brennan Center successfully advocated for new election security funding from Congress - $380 million to support improved measures (https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/new-election-security-funds-are-breakthrough-democracy)
The Brennan Center's signature proposal, Automatic Voter Registration, is now approved in 17 states and the District of Columbia (https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/automatic-voter-registration)
The Brennan Center issued a report showing continuing declines in crime rates - a report which US AG Sessions recently touted (https://www.brennancenter.org/crime-murder-2018)
Brennan Center's experts testified before Congress in 2019 on the National Emergency Powers Act, in support of the For the People Act (H.R.1), and election security. Our testimony resulted in Congress opting to modify the National Emergency Powers Act, and allocating an addition $425 million to support states in updating their ballot and election processing networks, as well as to improve security measures against cyberattacks.
The Brennan Center partnered with grassroots coalitions in Florida to successfully restore voting rights to over 1.4 million Floridians in 2018, previously denied this right because of past felony convictions. In 2019 Florida's legislature imposed a modern-day "poll tax" as a means to prevent newly reinstated voting rights; the Brennan Center and other partners went to court against this attempt in 2019 and continue working on this in 2020.

We will continue to protect American democracy and justice through our efforts, thanks to our supporters!

Financials

WILLIAM J BRENNAN JR CENTER FOR JUSTICE INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

WILLIAM J BRENNAN JR CENTER FOR JUSTICE INC

Board of directors
as of 2/5/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Patricia Bauman

Bauman Family Foundation


Board co-chair

Robert Atkins

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison LLP

Thomas Jorde

Professor Emeritus, Boalt Hall School of Law - UC Berkeley

Adam Cox

NYU School of Law

Helen Hershkoff

NYU School of Law

Lawrence Pedowitz

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

John Ferejohn

NYU School of Law & Stanford University

Adam Winkler

UCLA School of Law

Danielle Gray

O'Melveny & Meyers LLP

Michael Waldman

Brennan Center for Justice

Erin Murphy

NYU School of Law

Burt Neuborne

NYU School of Law

Steven Reiss

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Nancy Brennan

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Richard Revesz

NYU School of Law

Stephen Schulhofer

NYU School of Law

Ruth Lazarus

Patricia Bauman

Bauman Family Foundation

Gail Furman

No Affiliation

Daniel Kolb

Davis Polk & Wardell, LLP

Paul Lightfoot

BrightFarms, Inc.

Wendy Neu

Hugo Neu Corp.

Stephen Robinson

Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP

Scott Wallace

Wallace Global Fund

John Sexton

NYU

Trevor Morrison

NYU School of Law

Gerald Rosenfeld

Lazard Ltd.; NYU School of Law; NYU Stern School of Business

Robert Atkins

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison LLP

Kenji Yoshino

NYU School of Law

Emily Spitzer

Christine Varney

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Kimberley Harris

NBCUniversal

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data