NLADA HONORS JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS
NLADA TO HONOR JOHN PAUL STEVENS,ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES “Honored for his Lifetime Commitment to the Fair Administration of Justice for all People”
WASHINGTON, DC, August 5, 2010 — In honor of a lifetime of service as a champion of justice, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is pleased to present the 2010 NLADA Justice John Paul Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award to John Paul Stevens, Associate of the Supreme Court of the United States (ret.)
NLADA has celebrated the commitment and dedication of lawyers from the judiciary, private and corporate bar at its annual Exemplar Award Dinner since 1991, paying tribute to those who set an example by their extraordinary dedication, achievement, leadership and vision for quality representation and access to justice for people unable to afford a lawyer. Justice Stevens will be honored along with Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal during the NLADA Exemplar Award Dinner on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, DC. The reception will start at 6:00 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7:00 p.m.
Justice John Paul Stevens leaves the Supreme Court with a legacy of integrity, independence and an uncompromising dedication to the rule of law. He is widely known for understanding how the law impacts the lives of every day American people. “Justice Stevens has inspired generations of lawyers as a guardian of the Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and equality,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, president and CEO of NLADA. “It is an honor and a privilege to recognize Justice Stevens for a lifetime of deliberate and unwavering commitment to justice for all people, regardless of race, color, creed or income.”
Justice Stevens received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and began his legal career in 1947 by serving as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge. Following his clerkship, he returned to Chicago and entered private practice with the firm that would eventually become Jenner & Block. In 1969, the Greenberg Commission named Justice Stevens as their counsel during the investigation of corruption by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Ray Klingbiel and Roy J. Solfisburg, Jr. Stevens role’ on the Commission gained him wide notoriety leading him to the appointment of Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1970. On December 19, 1975, President Gerald Ford nominated Stevens as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing Justice William O. Douglas. He was confirmed 98-0 by the Senate.
On June 29, 2010, after more than 34 years, Justice Stevens retired as the third-longest serving justice in the Court’s history and the oldest member of the Court. Throughout his nearly 35 years on the bench, Justice Stevens maintained a moderate voice that championed civil rights issues, the death penalty and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Stevens’ opinion for the Court in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which reversed a 13-year precedent to outlaw the execution of mentally retarded citizens, is largely thought to have set the stage for the eventual abolition of the juvenile death penalty. Stevens’ views on affirmative action and integration in schools changed during his tenure, declaring in 2007 that “children of all races benefit from integrated classrooms and playgrounds.”
In a key, landmark decision involving national security, Stevens crossed the traditional liberal-conservative divide by writing two of the most important judgments, Rasul v. Bush (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006). The judgments stressed the Court’s duty to ensure fair treatment for those viewed most unfavorably in our society, even when national security is at issue. He went on to say “[I]f this Nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by its flag, it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the forces of tyranny.”
For a lifetime of dedication to justice for all, NLADA is proud to honor Justice John Paul Stevens.
For more information on the 2010 Exemplar Award Dinner, please contact Deborah Dubois at (202) 452-0620, ext. 223 or email@example.com.
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The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is this country’s oldest and largest non-profit association of individual legal professionals and legal organizations devoted to ensuring the delivery of legal services to the poor. For nearly 100 years, NLADA has secured access to justice for people who cannot afford counsel through the creation and improvement of legal institutions, advocacy, training and the development of nationally applicable standards. NLADA serves as the collective voice for both civil legal services and public defense services throughout the nation.