Articles by Spencer Overton

Spencer Overton

Spencer Overton is the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which was founded in 1970 and is America’s Black think tank. Today, the Joint Center’s research shapes national discussions on the future of work in Black communities and congressional staff diversity. Spencer is also a tenured professor at GW Law, and he is the author of a book and several academic articles, think tank reports, and popular commentaries on race and public policy. Spencer held several policy leadership roles on the 2007-2008 Obama presidential campaign, on the Obama transition team, and as a presidential appointee in the Obama Administration. Spencer has also practiced law at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, and graduated with honors from both Hampton University and Harvard Law School.

Biden Should Prioritize Black Appointments to the U.S. Court of Appeals

President Biden should prioritize appointing Black judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals due to impending retirements. Currently, African Americans are 13% of the U.S. population, but only 10% of active U.S. Court of Appeals Judges (18 of 175).  This disparity could grow quickly. Many active Black U.S. Appellate judges have been waiting for a…

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Joint Center Op-Ed: After Georgia, Senators Must Prioritize Staff Diversity

Sources: CNN, NYT, Cook & Joint Center.* After Black voters in Georgia enabled Democrats to control the Senate, Morning Consult published this commentary by Joint Center Senior Fellow of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. LaShonda Brenson and Joint Center President Spencer Overton calling for the Senate to take key steps to prioritize hiring, developing, and promoting…

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Pandemic Relief Priorities for Black Communities

By LaShonda Brenson Ph.D., Jessica Fulton, and Spencer Overton While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately harm Black communities in the United States, Congress and the Trump Administration have failed to come to an agreement on a fourth legislative package that will bring relief to millions in our nation.1 Granted, the relief package should direct…

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Questions on Market Power & Discrimination for Tech CEOs Testifying Before Congress

On July 29, the CEOs of four major tech companies—Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google/Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg—will testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to discuss the market power of online platforms. Of the subcommittee’s 13 Members, four belong to the Congressional Black Caucus (including subcommittee Vice Chair Joe…

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The Joint Center Commends House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for Appointing Jeyben Castro as Deputy Director of the U.S. House Office of Diversity & Inclusion

WASHINGTON — The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies commends U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for appointing Jeyben Castro as Deputy Director of the U.S. House Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Along with Kemba Hendrix, Castro will lead the office’s development of a House diversity plan to include policies to direct and guide…

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The Impact of the HEROES Act on Black Communities

Last Friday, U.S. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill to address economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic—the HEROES Act. Economic Support for Individuals:  African American unemployment more than doubled in April alone (from 6.7% in March to 16.7% in April), and the HEROES Act attempts to provide economic relief to families. The bill extends…

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Thoughts on “A People’s Guide to AI”

I first heard about the short book “A People’s Guide to AI” about six months ago, and I finally read it. I enjoyed the book, and decided to share a few informal thoughts. The book is an introduction to artificial intelligence, algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning with an equity frame. It provides basic definitions,…

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