James Thomas Tucker*Senior Special Counsel
Jim Tucker is a Senior Special Counsel in the Voting Rights Project. A founding individual member of the Native American Voting Rights Coalition, or NAVRC, in September 2021, Jim joined the Lawyers’ Committee, a founding organizational member of NAVRC. Additionally, he served as a commissioned officer in the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm, earning an Air Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal for his combat service.
From 2007 until 2021, Jim served as the Pro Bono Voting Rights Counsel to the Native American Rights Fund, where he provided support on litigation, legislative and policy matters and co-directed NARF’s redistricting training program. He was the co-director of nine field hearings in seven states examining conditions that impeded Native voting, resulting in a report entitled “Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.” In addition, he served as NARF’s co-counsel in Toyukak v. Treadwell, the first successful case under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) tried to a decision since 1980, and in Nick v. Bethel, which secured language assistance for Alaska Native voters. His other representations included serving as the counsel of record for NARF’s amicus briefs in Shelby County v. Holder (U.S. No. 12-96) and Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder (U.S. No. 08-322) and as co-counsel in two cases under Section 5 of the VRA, Samuelsen v. Treadwell and Alaska v. Holder. His thousands of pro bono work hours earned him his law firm’s award for the 2014 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.
Jim previously served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was counsel in cases including Georgia v. Ashcroft, the United States v. Passaic County, and Easley v. Cromartie. During the 2005-2006 reauthorization of the VRA, he represented the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, followed by service as Policy Counsel for the ACLU’s Washington, D.C. legislative office. In addition, he has testified before Congress several times on barriers that communities of color face in census operations and voting. A prolific writer, Jim’s publications include a book on the VRA’s language assistance provisions, The Battle over Bilingual Ballots: Language Minorities and Political Access under the Voting Rights Act, and two book chapters and approximately two dozen law journal articles on minority voting rights.
Jim serves as the Chair of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee, which provides input to the Census Director on race, ethnicity, and other communities for improved census operations, survey, and data collection methods. During the 2020 Census, he served as a co-leader of Get-Out-The-Count efforts by national organizations for Indian Country. In addition, Jim coordinates monthly national calls with partners and tribes to facilitate the participation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in decennial, annual, and other periodic census surveys.
Jim holds Doctor of the Science of Laws (S.J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania; a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, Order of the Coif, from the University of Florida; a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree from the University of Oklahoma; and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in history from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. He clerked for the Honorable Maurice M. Paul, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Florida. He has taught voting rights and election law as an adjunct professor at the Barrett Honors College and the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. He is a past Chair of the Indian Law Section of the Arizona Bar. Jim is an inaugural member of the Barrett Honors College Alumni Hall of Fame and recipient of the 2002-2003 Outstanding Alumnus Award for Barrett Honors College.
Bar Admissions: Admitted in Arizona and Nevada only. Practice limited to matters before federal courts.
Court Admissions: Admitted to the United States Supreme Court; US Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits; and the US District Courts for the District of Arizona, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida, and the District of Nevada. Also admitted to the US Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, and the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.