The Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at NYU Law (CCRJ) was established in 2013 to conduct innovative research, provide legal services, promote dialogue and expand the academic discipline on reproductive justice issues. CCRJ’s goal is to ensure justice and democracy for all. Current activities include clinical legal work, funding fellowships, and sponsoring an annual conference in the field.
Beth Nash was the motivating force behind the Carr Center’s formation. “We need to address a material imbalance between the demand for and significance of legal work on reproductive issues and the scarcity of resources and attention being allocated to the area. NYU School of Law is the premier institution for housing a center dedicated to reproductive justice and leading the charge,” said Nash. Nash is an investment professional who more recently pursued legal interests, leading to her inspiration for the center. She is currently completing an interdisciplinary thesis on law and neuroscience at NYU, and acts as strategic advisor for the center. Nash previously worked at financial firms Goldman Sachs and CREF, eventually co-founding and serving as principal of her own investment firm. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.
Professor Sarah Burns directs the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice and supervises the Reproductive Justice Clinic, which represents clients throughout the United States in litigation and policy projects centering on reproductive decision making. Burns combines law with learning in social science to develop effective solutions for problems that institutions and communities face. Burns, who has been on the NYU faculty since 1990, specializes in experiential learning pedagogy, developing simulation and clinical courses in litigation, negotiation, mediation, dispute system design, policy advocacy, and systemic change. Burns began her law practice as a litigating attorney with the Washington, DC, commercial law firm Covington & Burling and later moved into public interest civil rights practice, undertaking litigation, legislative, and policy advocacy work for national non-profit and membership organizations. She handled cases in federal and state court, and worked on analysis of the Equal Rights Amendment when it was reintroduced in Congress in 1983-84. Of particular relevance to reproductive justice, Burns was counsel of record for the Brief of Amicus Curiae Women Who have Had Abortions and Friends of Women Who Have Had Abortions in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Inc., before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989. The brief was notable as being based on thousands of firsthand accounts presenting diverse narratives concerning the circumstances under which each amica had an abortion, and the extent and nature of the harm to women and their loved ones of the harsh regulatory regimes banning abortion prior to Roe v. Wade. Burns graduated in 1979 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She holds a master’s degree from Stanford University in sociology and from the University of Oklahoma in human relations.
The advisory board of the center includes Beth Nash; Professor Sarah Burns; Weil, Gotschal & Manges partner Todd Lang; University Professor Carol Gilligan; Dean Trevor Morrison; and Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus Richard Revesz.