Detroit Mercy Law to host Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for annual social justice lecture series

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.The national discussion about voting rights will be front and center when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson visits the Riverfront Campus on Monday, Oct. 28 at 5 p.m.

A national leader in election law, Benson will deliver her lecture, “Voting Rights at the Core of a Just Society,” as part of Detroit Mercy Law’s Dewitt C. Holbrook Lecture on Social Justice series. The lecture series, which was launched in October 2018 and held each fall, provides prominent leaders in the legal profession a forum to address issues on law and policy related to social justice. It is made possible through a grant from the Dewitt C. Holbrook Memorial Trust.

“We are honored to welcome Secretary Benson as this year’s Dewitt C. Holbrook Social Justice speaker to share her expertise on election law and to discuss her important work protecting voting rights in our state,” said Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker.

Benson is the author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. In her lecture, she will discuss the connection between the right to vote and the struggle for social justice, particularly how efforts to win civil rights have been intertwined with access to the ballot throughout American history and how those themes continue to reverberate today.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and an expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson served as dean of Wayne State University Law School. She was appointed dean at age 36, becoming the youngest woman in U.S. history to lead a top-100, accredited law school. She continues to serve as vice chair of the advisory board for the Levin Center at Wayne Law, which she founded with former U.S. Senator Carl Levin. She served as director of the center from fall 2016 until August 2017. Previously, Benson was an associate professor and associate director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

The Dewitt C. Holbrook Lecture is free and open to the public. Contact Sunny Kerschenheiter at or 313-596-0247 for more information.

Register online today.