This year, Shaking the Foundations is excited to invite Nina Perales to deliver the keynote address. Nina Perales is the Vice President of Litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). In that role, Ms. Perales has advocated relentlessly on behalf of minority and immigrant communities. Ms. Perales is best known for her voting rights litigation, where she has worked on redistricting and vote dilution cases. In 2006, she litigated the landmark voting rights case LULAC v. Perry, which concerned a Texas redistricting plan that dismantled a Latino majority congressional district. Ms. Perales led the Latino voting rights claims through trial, and successfully argued in front of the United States Supreme Court that the redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act.
In addition to her voting rights advocacy, Ms. Perales has specialized in immigrants’ rights litigation. In 2013, she led a challenge to an anti-immigrant housing ordinance in Texas. The Fifth Circuit, en banc, ruled in her client’s favor and struck down the ordinance. In 2018, she began defending the federal Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and challenging a Texas law forcing counties and cities to enforce federal immigration law against local residents.
Ms. Perales holds an Associate of Arts degree from Simon’s Rock Early College, a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.