Elise C. Boddie is Director of Litigation. She rejoined LDF in 2011. Before returning to LDF, Elise taught constitutional law, among other courses, at New York Law School. She also has taught at Fordham Law School as a Visiting Associate Professor. In her first LDF tour, Elise served as Director of Education and was an Associate Director of Litigation. From 1999-2005, she litigated complex affirmative action, employment, and school desegregation cases in the federal trial and appellate courts and has argued in the federal courts of appeal, including an appeal on behalf of student-intervenors of a district court decision to strike an affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Georgia. In another case, Elise co-counseled the successful defense of a group of community organizers who had been sued for calling for a boycott of the City of Cincinnati based on its record of police misconduct. As Education Director, Elise led a strategic planning process that culminated in LDF’s Opportunity to Learn Initiative and developed a program for counseling colleges and universities on compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. She made several guest appearances on television and radio programs regarding LDF’s work, including CNBC, Tavis Smiley, and CourtTV. Elise has authored a number of amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeal on a broad range of civil rights matters.
Elise graduated with honors from both Harvard Law School and Yale College and holds a masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Following a clerkship for Judge Robert Carter in the Southern District of New York, Elise litigated at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in its New York office as the first recipient of the Fried, Frank/LDF fellowship. Elise has published in the UCLA Law Review and the Iowa Law Review online journal, as well as Slate and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and won the Law and Society Association’s John Hope Franklin prize for excellence in legal scholarship regarding race and the law.
Before law school, Elise was a New York City Urban Fellow and also worked in New York City Mayor David Dinkins Office of City Legislative Affairs. She has served on the board of the North Star Fund, the Passaic County Legal Aid Society and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and son and served on Montclair’s School Integration Task Force.