Barbara Arnwine ’73 on Civil Rights

Scripps College alumna, attorney, and prominent civil rights advocate Barbara Arnwine ’73 is at the forefront of renewed efforts in the national fight against voter discrimination. Arnwine joined President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder at the White House on Monday, July 28, along with other civil rights leaders, to discuss ways to combat voter discrimination.

Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said uncovering and fighting voter discrimination in the current landscape is a daunting task, but she was encouraged to see how much the Department of Justice is strategizing and positioning itself to be a real force in combating racial discrimination.

Arnwine said her group will look at all the states and plans to conduct hearings nationwide to assist Congress in obtaining the data that will be necessary to create a new voting map.

“[President Obama] is committed to making sure that the right to vote is secure and strong and that he’s also calling on people to do everything they can to protect their right to vote,” said Arnwine. “Ultimately, it’s about what the citizens will do.”

For more than 35 years, Arnwine has promoted equal justice for disadvantaged groups both domestically and internationally. As head of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, she led the effort to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and played a significant role in securing the 2006 Reauthorization of the Voting Act.

Scripps College recognized Arnwine as its Distinguished Alumna in 1997 for her many contributions to society, and, in 2006, she returned to campus to deliver the College’s commencement address.