U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will speak in April in Louisville and receive an award named for a forerunner from the city.
The Brandeis Award is awarded through UofL’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and is given to “ people who practice the ideals of personal freedom, concern for the disadvantaged and public service,” the university said. In a statement, UofL interim law dean Susan Duncan said compared Stevens to Brandeis, a Louisville native who served on the Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939 and was known for his advocacy for speech and privacy rights.
“Their legacies are similar,” Duncan said in the statement. “Both are considered champions for the protection of civil liberties and promoters of policies that uplift the disadvantaged.”
President Gerald Ford appointed Stevens to the Supreme Court in 1975. In this 2007 profile in The New York Times Magazine, Stevens was described like this:
Justice Stevens, the oldest and arguably most liberal justice, now finds himself the leader of the opposition. Vigorous and sharp at 87, he has served on the court for 32 years, approaching the record set by his predecessor, William O. Douglas, who served for 36. In criminal-law and death-penalty cases, Stevens has voted against the government and in favor of the individual more frequently than any other sitting justice. He files more dissents and separate opinions than any of his colleagues. He is the court’s most outspoken defender of the need for judicial oversight of executive power.
Stevens’ lecture on April 18 at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel is open to the public. Tickets cost $75 and includes a reception and dinner. Reservations are required by April 11 and can be made here.
Past Brandeis Award recipients include former or current Supreme Court justicies Sandra Day O’Conner, Harry Blackmun, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Other past recipients include civil rights attorney Morris Dees, former Manhattan district Attorney Robert Morganthau and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.