Defending the Constitution: U.S. Attorney’s Office as Guardian of Our Rights

United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina Adair Ford Boroughs (Furman ’02)
Tuesday, September 20 | 5-6 p.m.
Hartness Pavilion


Presented by the Riley Institute and the Department of Politics and International Affairs in recognition of Constitution Day

Exactly how does the U.S. Attorney’s office defend the Constitution, and how does the office fit into our democracy? The U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina and Furman alumna Adair Ford Boroughs will talk about how the U.S. Attorney’s office enforces the Constitution, both with civil and criminal enforcement tools, and defends it by protecting an individual’s constitutional rights. U.S. Attorney Boroughs is one of 93 United States Attorneys, each of whom takes an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The office has the power to decide which cases to prosecute —including fraud, human trafficking, voting rights, hate crimes, corruption, and violations of civil liberties — as it seeks to defend the Constitution. Recently, their role is made more difficult by the United States Supreme Court’s disregard for precedents. Boroughs will highlight the opportunities and challenges for the district office as it seeks to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Following her remarks, Professor Teresa Cosby will host a conversation with her and then open up the floor for questions from the audience.

About the speakers

Adair Ford Boroughs

Adair Ford Boroughs was officially sworn in as United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina on July 26, 2022, following a nomination by President Joseph R. Biden and U.S. Senate confirmation.

Prior to her confirmation as U.S. Attorney, Boroughs was a partner at Boroughs Bryant, LLC where she handled complex litigation and provided strategic counsel to clients. From 2017 to 2019, she served as executive director of Charleston Legal Access, a nonprofit, sliding-scale law firm that she helped found to address the justice gap in South Carolina. From 2013 to 2017, Boroughs clerked for Judge Gergel, where she worked on a number of high-profile cases including United States v. Dylann Roof, where the defendant was convicted of killing nine Black parishioners during a prayer meeting at the historic Charleston Emanuel AME church. Boroughs began her legal career in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program, serving from 2007 to 2013. While there, she handled complex civil ligation across the country, received awards for her trial work and mentorship of new attorneys, and served on the Assistant Attorney General’s Diversity Committee where she led the work on overhauling the Division’s hiring practices. Prior to law school, Boroughs taught high school mathematics in South Carolina’s public schools.

Boroughs received her J.D., with distinction, from Stanford Law School in 2007 and her B.S. in Mathematics, summa cum laude, from Furman University in 2002. She is a 2001 Harry S. Truman Scholar.


Teresa Nesbitt Cosby

Teresa Nesbitt Cosby is a professor of political science at Furman University. Her specialty is constitutional law and racial and ethnic politics. Ms. Cosby was the law clerk of retired United States Magistrate Judge William M. Catoe, Jr., she has served as an assistant deputy attorney general for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, was the executive director of Legal Services of South Carolina, and the former Legal Services of Western Carolina. She has also served as the executive director of the Black Family Land Trust, a six-state program. She serves and has served on national, state, and local boards of directors, which includes her service as chair of the Civil Policy Group of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Upstate Community Mediation Center. She has a B.A. and J.D. from Howard University.