STANFORD, Calif., October 30, 2013—The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School has announced three awards for remarkable achievement in public service. The joint recipients of the National Public Service Award are Roberta Kaplan, a partner at Paul, Weiss, and Pamela Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School. The recipient of the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award is Jennifer Chang Newell, JD ’03, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project. All three recipients were honored last night at a ceremony at Stanford Law School.
The National Public Service Award is awarded to attorneys whose public service work has had national impact, and the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recognizes an alumnus/a whose outstanding work has advanced justice and social change in the lives of vulnerable populations on a community, national or international level. In particular, the Rubin Award is intended to highlight sustainable solutions to a societal problem.
National Public Service Award Recipients: Roberta Kaplan and Pamela Karlan
“Roberta Kaplan and Pamela Karlan are exceptional lawyers who have used their talents to advance the public good. Their success in United States v. Windsor is a landmark, destined to shape our understanding of the Constitution for decades to come,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “Their dedication to justice for their client is a powerful example for our students and for all lawyers.”
Roberta Kaplan is a seasoned litigator who has appeared on numerous lists of highly accomplished attorneys, including “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers” and “The 500 Leading Lawyers.” In United States v. Windsor, Kaplan argued before the United States Supreme Court against a key provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In Windsor, the Court struck down the provision, holding that the federal statute unconstitutionally denied legally married same-sex couples the benefits of being treated as married for purposes of federal laws.
Kaplan’s legal work has also been recognized by a number of organizations, including the New York City Council, the Family Equality Council, and the National Organization for Women. In 2011, the Law Women’s Association at Columbia Law School honored Kaplan as its Distinguished Alumna of the Year.
Kaplan is a member of the Board of Directors of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the New York County Lawyers’ Association. She has also served on New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Task Force on Commercial Litigation and continues to serve on the Commercial Division Advisory Council.
After receiving her law degree at Columbia Law School, Kaplan served as a law clerk to former New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and to Judge Mark L. Wolfe of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Pamela Karlan is a prolific scholar, award-winning and beloved teacher, and a leading Supreme Court advocate. She has authored over 100 articles, and is a co-author of leading casebooks on constitutional law, constitutional litigation, and the law of democracy. She also writes a column on the U.S. Supreme Court and legal issues for the Boston Review.
Karlan is Co-Director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which allows students to litigate cases that are before the nation’s highest court. Karlan led a team of Clinic students in preparing a brief for the Court on behalf of Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor. As one of the nation’s foremost experts on voting and the political process, Karlan has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission and as an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Karlan serves on the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the American Law Institute. Before joining Stanford Law School in 1998, Karlan taught at the University of Virginia School of Law.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Karlan served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Abraham D. Sofaer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award Recipient: Jennifer Chang Newell, JD ‘03
The 2013 Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award recipient Jennifer Chang Newell is being recognized for her legal advocacy for immigrants and civil liberties. As Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Newell’s practice frequently involves challenging state and local anti-immigrant policies, protecting the constitutional rights of immigrants to judicial review and due process, and combating discrimination and retaliation against immigrants.
Newell is counsel in Arizona DREAM Act Coalition v. Brewer, a case brought by the ACLU and its coalition partners to challenge Arizona’s denial of driver’s licenses to young immigrant “DREAMers” who have received federal permission to live and work in the United States. Newell is also counsel in cases raising Supremacy Clause challenges to several municipal immigration ordinances around the country.
Newell has also litigated cases challenging the U.S. government’s torture of noncitizen detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting the rights of Salvadoran asylum-seekers in immigration proceedings, upholding the validity of the San Francisco Municipal ID Ordinances, and preventing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from using Social Security records for immigration enforcement purposes.
Newell began her work at the Immigrants’ Rights Project as a Skadden Fellow in 2004. Following her graduation from Stanford Law School, Newell served as a law clerk to Judge Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“Just a decade out of law school, Jennifer Chang Newell’s advocacy has already improved the lives of countless individuals and she has made her mark on the law,” said Magill. “Her commitment to protecting the underserved and marginalized is truly an inspiration.”
“This year’s honorees are outstanding role models for our students and for all who hear the call to pursue justice, especially when it is difficult,” said Diane T. Chin, Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law and Lecturer in Law, who oversees the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law. “Their work and their determination remind us how the law can serve and strengthen communities in myriad ways.”
The awards were established in 2006 by the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law as part of its mission to raise awareness about the importance of public service. The awards are given annually to individuals who exemplify a commitment to public service, provide models of practice that are interesting and innovative, and who make a contribution to the overall public interest legal field. The recipients were chosen by a committee that included Todd Rubin, a member of the Rubin family who helped establish the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award, Dean Elizabeth Magill, and Associate Dean Diane Chin.
About the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law
The mission of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School is—through courses, research, pro bono projects, public lectures, academic conferences, funding programs, and career development—to make public service a pervasive part of every law student’s experience and ultimately help shape the values that students take into their careers. It also engages in programming and research that supports development of the public interest legal community and increases access to justice.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.