Meet Jocelyn

Jocelyn Benson is the Dean of Wayne State University Law School and the current President of the Military Spouses of Michigan.  Previous to serving as Dean, Benson was an Associate Professor of Law and the Associate Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In that capacity she created the Michigan Allies Project, an effort designed to track hate incidents throughout Michigan and provide legal support for victims.

In 2011, Dean Benson was selected to serve with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the national board of directors of iCivics, Inc., a nonprofit created by Justice O'Connor to improve civics education throughout the country. Jocelyn is also the founder and current director of the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration, which seeks to host projects to support transparency and integrity in elections. In 2011 the Center hosted Michigan's first ever "Citizens' Redistricting Competition," providing an opportunity for Michigan citizens to access software and draw their own redistricting maps for the state.

A former member of the ABA's Committee on Election Law, Dean Benson has developed and supervised three statewide nonpartisan election protection efforts in Michigan. In 2007, she successfully blocked the unlawful closure of a Secretary of State branch office in Buena Vista Township, Michigan. During the 2008 election, she led an effort to block the use of foreclosure lists to challenge voters’ eligibility on Election Day.  Dean Benson has also published the first major book on the role of the Secretary of State in enforcing election and campaign finance laws, titled State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process. In 2010 she was the Michigan Democratic Party’s candidate for Secretary of State.

Benson moved to Michigan to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After earning her bachelor's degree at Wellesley College, Benson began her career at the Southern Poverty Law Center, investigating hate groups and hate crimes throughout the country. She earned a Master of Philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and subsequently earned her law degree from Harvard Law School.

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