John Paul Schnapper-Casteras

LDF today announced that John Paul Schnapper-Casteras has joined the organization as Special Counsel for Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy. 

In this newly created role, Schnapper-Casteras, known as JP, will work with LDF attorneys on all aspects of civil rights litigation, particularly strategic development and preparation of appellate and Supreme Court briefs.

“We are delighted to welcome JP to the LDF family,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill.  “Our organization has a long and storied history of Supreme Court advocacy, and we know that JP will help us to continue that tradition.”

The appointment reflects LDF’s significant role in Supreme Court litigation; since splitting from the NAACP in 1957 the organization has filed more cases before the Court than any other organization besides the Justice Department.

“For decades, LDF has played a unique role in the U.S. Supreme Court and consistently shaped the law through appellate litigation to bring about a more inclusive and equal society, said Schnapper-Casteras.  “It is a privilege to join such a renowned appellate practice and an honor to work with some of the finest attorneys and staff in the country to advance the cause of civil rights and human rights.”

Schnapper-Casteras comes to LDF from the Washington law firm Sidley Austin, where he focused on appellate representation and complex commercial litigation. In that role, he co-authored amicus briefs in several recent LDF Supreme Court cases, including Fisher v. UT-Austin and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. He also co-authored a Supreme Court brief on behalf of lesbian and gay servicemembers in the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case, in which the Court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Prior to joining Sidley Austin, Schnapper-Casteras served as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and as a law clerk to the Honorable Scott W. Stucky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.  He received his J.D. with Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School, where he won the Walter J. Cummings Award for Best Brief as a finalist in the Kirkwood Moot Competition; was a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and served as managed editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. He holds an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and an M.A. in sociology and a B.A. with honors in political science from Stanford University.

Schnapper-Casteras is currently a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center and co-chair of The Constitution Project’s Young Professional Committee.  In September 2013, he was named as one of the top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders Under 33 by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. He has published on a range of international and domestic policy issues in The Washington Post, Politico, and other news outlets.

A native of Seattle, Schnapper-Casteras, lives with his wife in Washington, D.C. and will work from LDF’s Washington office.

Read more on John Paul Schnapper-Casteras in the National Law Journal: