A partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block, Smith is one of the country’s leading lawyers in the areas of First Amendment litigation and appellate advocacy.
Washington, DC (Vocus) March 3, 2010
The American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities named civil liberties and human rights attorney Paul M. Smith as the recipient of this year’s Thurgood Marshall Award, which will be presented Aug. 7 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
A partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block, Smith is one of the country’s leading lawyers in the areas of First Amendment litigation and appellate advocacy. He has presented oral argument in more than a dozen Supreme Court cases, including his groundbreaking advocacy in Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case that is often compared in significance to the Brown v. Board of Education case, which was argued and won by Thurgood Marshall.
Smith has not only led the way in advancing LGBT civil rights, but he has also been a leading advocate in addressing voting rights issues, including arguing three times before the U.S. Supreme Court in voting rights matters since 2004. His most recent argument was in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, a 2008 case challenging an Indiana voter ID law, which has been called the most significant election law case to reach the Court since Bush v. Gore in 2000. Smith has also been a leader in advancing freedom of speech, especially with regard to the application of the First Amendment to the Internet and video games.
The Thurgood Marshall Award recognizes substantial, long-term contributions to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights in the United States. The section established the award in 1992, conferring the inaugural award upon U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Since that time, recipients have included:
1993 Judge Frank M. Johnson
1994 Oliver W. Hill
1995 Ralph S. Abascal
1996 Jack Greenberg
1997 Judge Damon J. Keith
1998 Stephen B. Bright
1999 Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
2000 Judge Revius Q. Ortique, Jr.
2001 Judge William Wayne Justice
2002 Judge Don Edwards
2003 Dale Minami
2004 Fred D. Gray
2005 Judge Abner J. Mikva
2006 Julius Chambers
2007 Judge Matthew J. Perry, Jr.
2008 Judge Nancy Gertner
2009 Former Attorney General Janet Reno
The keynote speaker for the August event will be announced in March.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.