Michaele N. Turnage Young serves as Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), where she litigates education and voting rights cases.
Ms. Turnage Young co-authored amicus and post-trial briefs of behalf of 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations in SFFA v. Harvard, arguing that the court should uphold settled law allowing universities to consider race, as one of many factors, in admissions so that universities can assemble diverse student bodies and students can enjoy the educational benefits of diversity. In addition, she represents Black children and their parents in school desegregation cases in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. Ms. Turnage Young also serves as counsel in Terrebonne Parish Branch NAACP v. Jindal, wherein the court held that Louisiana violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act when it intentionally discriminated against Terrebonne’s Black voters by using at-large voting to elect the five judges of the 32nd Judicial District Court, the state court that serves Terrebonne, even though that voting scheme diminishes the voting power of Terrebonne’s Black voters. Ms. Turnage Young has discussed her work on MSNBC, the CBS Evening News, the BBC World News, CSPAN, and Pod Save the People, among others.
Prior to joining LDF in 2017, Ms. Turnage Young served as a Trial Attorney with the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. There, she prosecuted 13 school desegregation cases in seven federal court jurisdictions across the country. Her efforts led school districts to desegregate their students and faculties, equalize access to course offerings, equalize their facilities, transform their discipline practices, and dramatically reduce the amount of instructional time students lost to exclusionary discipline. Ms. Turnage Young received the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award in recognition of her work advancing educational equity.
Ms. Turnage Young clerked for the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she served as a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Ms. Turnage Young earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA.