Read a PDF of our statement here.

The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is saddened by the loss of J. Gerald ‘Gerry’ Hebert, a longtime civil rights lawyer, former Executive Director and Director at the Campaign Legal Center, and a stalwart voting rights advocate who served as co-counsel with LDF on a number of voting rights cases.

“Gerry Hebert was a dogged advocate for voting rights and democracy,” said LDF President & Director Counsel Janai S. Nelson. “A brilliant lawyer, Gerry built an exceptional legacy over decades that endures today. We send our sincere condolences to his wife, children, other family and friends, and our colleagues at the Campaign Legal Center. Gerry will be sorely missed.”

Hebert served as co-counsel with LDF, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale) in their successful challenges to a racially discriminatory Texas voter ID law in Veasey v. Abbott. In Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, LDF argued that Texas passed the voter ID law SB 14 in 2011 with an intent to discriminate against Black and Latino Texans, and that SB 5, a measure passed in 2017, did not serve as a remedy to that racial discrimination.

From 1973 to 1994, Gerry served in the Department of Justice, where he worked as lead attorney in numerous voting rights and redistricting lawsuits. He also served as chief trial counsel in over 100 voting rights lawsuits, and in his 20-year tenure at the DOJ received numerous commendations, including an award for his work in connection with Boston school desegregation in 1975. In addition to private practice, Gerry taught at Georgetown University Law Center, American University’s Washington College of Law, and University of Virginia School of Law, and authored several law journal articles and other publications on redistricting and the Voting Rights Act.


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.