Deuel Ross

Deuel Ross is a Senior Counsel & Director of Professional Development at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”). In that role, he uses litigation and advocacy to ensure equal access to educational opportunities and the political process for people of color.

Deuel co-led the team in People First of Alabama v. Merrill, where, after a trial, a U.S. district court ruled that Alabama’s restrictive absentee voting rules violated the Voting Rights Act, and is lead counsel in Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill, a voting rights case that he argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has led or worked on successful challenges to other discriminatory voting laws in Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and South Carolina. And he served on the trial team and co-wrote the appellate briefs in Veasey v. Abbott, the successful case against Texas’s voter ID law.

Deuel also represents students of color in school desegregation cases in Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and elsewhere. He played a lead role in negotiating a new comprehensive, multi-year settlement with Connecticut in the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill case. And he argued Banks v. St. James Parish School Board in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the Court found that charter schools can be held accountable to desegregation orders.  

During the COVID-19 crisis, Deuel filed several federal lawsuits to protect the voting and educational rights of Black and high-risk people across the South.

Deuel is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and New York University School of Law. He has testified before Congress and regularly speaks to the public at law schools, churches, colleges, businesses, and other events. His commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Associated Press, CBS News, the Guardian, law reviews, and other media.

Deuel was a Civil Rights – LDF Fellow at the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. There, he wrote U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs for Shelby County v. Holder and Arizona Inter Tribal Council v. Arizona and supported successful challenges to voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina

Deuel clerked for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and was a Karpatkin Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union. He earned his B.A. from the University of Southern California and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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