Leading Civil Rights and First Amendment Lawyer Paul M. Smith to Receive 2010 Thurgood Marshall Award at ABA Annual Meeting

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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.

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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.

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.

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