The Catholic University of America

(L to R) Professor Cara Drinan, Mr. Douglas F. Gansler, and Governor Robert L. Ehrlich


The Presidential Race 2016: Views from Both Sides of the Aisle

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On Monday, October 19, 2015, the law school hosted Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R, Maryland, 2003-07) and Mr. Douglas F. Gansler, former Attorney General of Maryland (D, 2006-14) for an event entitled, The Presidential Race 2016: Views from Both Sides of the Aisle. Professor Cara H. Drinan moderated the event, which consisted of brief remarks on the campaign to date from Governor Ehrlich and Mr. Gansler and wide-ranging questions from the audience. 

Students in attendance asked about gun control, the Speaker of the House vacancy, immigration reform, the media’s role in political campaigns, and the viability of several specific candidates. While Mr. Gansler and Governor Ehrlich hold fundamentally different beliefs on some issues, they agreed on several important ones, including criminal justice and education reform.

Both Mr. Gansler and Governor Ehrlich brought a wealth of experience to the dialogue. Governor Ehrlich, who entered into a Partnership with the law school regarding clemency and criminal justice reform in 2013, is currently Senior Counsel at King & Spalding. He served as the 60th Governor of Maryland from 2003-2007 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995–2003. As an elected official, he is credited with strongly supporting education, achieving environmental reform, and establishing the first cabinet-level disabilities office of any state in the nation. Moreover, Governor Ehrlich abandoned the "life means life" policy of his predecessor and adopted a first-of-its-kind approach to executive clemency, standardizing the process and providing intensive rehabilitative services to those who were granted pardons or whose sentences were commuted. Mr. Gansler is currently a partner at Buckley Sandler in DC. Prior to assuming his current role, Mr. Gansler was engaged in a wide array of public service roles, as both a state and federal prosecutor, and then as Attorney General of Maryland.

The CUA Law/Ehrlich Partnership on Clemency seeks to provide direct legal representation to those seeking federal clemency; to train executive actors about the importance of rational and safe clemency procedures; and to educate the public about the importance of fair clemency practices, as well as other criminal justice reform measures.