Liliana Zaragoza (she/her/hers) serves as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). She was previously the inaugural John Payton Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy Fellow from 2015 through 2016, and she returned to LDF in 2018.
Liliana maintains a diverse docket including voting rights, school desegregation cases, and civil criminal justice matters. She is part of the trial team in People First of Alabama, et al. v. Merrill, a recent challenge to Alabama absentee voting restrictions that severely burden voters who are at high-risk of contracting or experiencing complications or death from COVID-19.
Liliana’s work also includes LDF’s advocacy challenging the NYPD’s “gang” database and “gang policing tactics and Attala County NAACP v. Evans, a lawsuit challenging Mississippi District Attorney Doug Evans’ practice of striking Black jurors at a rate of 4.4 times the rate of white jurors, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. She is also part of the team representing Teens Take Charge, other community-led organizations, and individual students and families who successfully intervened in Christa McAuliffe Intermediate School PTO v. Bill de Blasio, a case challenging the method of admission to New York City’s Specialized High Schools.
As a Payton Fellow, she was a part of the litigation team in Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill, and she co-wrote several amicus briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court, including in Fisher v. University of Texas II, Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, and Wells Fargo v. City of Miami, Florida.
Previously, Liliana was a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), where she represented domestic workers in federal and state employment cases. Liliana also served as a law clerk to the Honorable L. Felipe Restrepo on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and to the Honorable Victor Marrero in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Liliana received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was the first Latinx Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. Liliana received her A.B. in International Studies and Human Rights, with honors, from the University of Chicago. She is originally from Tucson, Arizona.