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Help Wanted

Here is a text of an e-mail that I sent out recently to some listservs about looking for a summer intern. Please read on below for future details about how to apply and the requirements of the position.


I work as a special assistant and counsel to Commissioner Gail Heriot, who is one member of the eight-member Commission on Civil Rights. Gail is an independent who was appointed to the Commission on the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell. She is also a law professor at the University of San Diego; Commissioners are part-time and travel to Washington approximately once a month to attend to Commission business.

The Commission was founded in 1957 and  is charged with appraising laws and policies “with respect to . . . discrimination or denials of equal protection under the laws of the Constitution of the United States because of color, race, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice.” In the ad that Commissioner Heriot posted several years ago advertising the position that I now hold, she noted that the Commission can be contentious, but that “Nobody works on more interesting issues than the Commission.”   I’ve come to agree wholeheartedly. I can’t say for 100% certain what issues will be on our plate this summer, but I imagine that work on the Commission’s reports on voting rights and police practices will be among those covered.

The intern will assist Commissioners Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow and their respective special assistants and counsel (Carissa Mulder is the special assistant/counsel to Peter Kirsanow) with researching and writing essays published in Commission reports; Commissioner letters, which are generally sent to members of Congress, the President, and/or executive branch officials; and possibly with Congressional testimony.  The intern will also work less frequently with some of the other members of the Commission and their special assistants and counsel.

Qualifications include:

(1)     Strong academic credentials

(2)    Broadly defined, philosophical and intellectual compatibility with Commissioners Heriot and Kirsanow. To get a sense of where Commissioners Heriot and Kirsanow stand, I recommend that candidates peruse a website that Commissioner Heriot and I have created in our spare time outside of the Commission, newamericancivilrightsproject.org.  Note that even I don’t agree with 100% of the time with Commissioners Heriot and Kirsanow, so perfect agreement with materials found there is not essential. Someone who is a good fit is likely to identify as a conservative, a libertarian, or some mix of both. It is not required that the intern be a member of any particular political party.

(3)    Strong interest in the civil rights issues that the Commission studies; previous work or academic experience studying these issues is preferred, although not essential.

I am willing to consider current law students, current undergrads, and recent college law or graduates for the position. I would tailor the intern’s duties to match his or her background; for example, if the intern is a law student, I would assign more legal research and writing than I would to an intern who is considering law school.

The internship is unpaid. But if the intern is eligible to receive funding from school or from another source, I am happy to work with the person to get the funding and/or to receive course credit for the internship.

Please note that the Commission does not actually enforce any civil rights laws,  so we may not be the best fit for someone looking for litigation experience.

Any students and recent grads who are interested in this opportunity should send a standard resume and cover letter explaining why he or she is qualified and a good fit for the position to me at aschmauch@usccr.gov. I’m also happy to receive e-mails with questions at this address.


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