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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Law, Order, and Justice Prevail at AFJ Annual Luncheon

“They can cancel Law & Order, but they can’t cancel justice.”

Update: Watch video of the 2010 Alliance for Justice Luncheon:

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So said Sam Waterston yesterday as he introduced a clip from “Memo from the Dark Side,” a Law & Order episode centered on a young law professor who writes legal opinions which lay the legal framework for torture during the Bush Administration. Alliance for Justice honored the writers, producers, cast, and crew of Law & Order with the Champion of Justice Award at AFJ’s Justice First! luncheon, for the show’s 20 years bringing justice issues to the attention of millions of Americans. The luncheon’s all-star program included: Urvashi Vaid, Arcus Foundation Executive Director; Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Elaine R. Jones, President and Director Counsel Emeritus of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. There to represent Law and Order were Rene Balcer, Fred Berner, Keith Eisner, Linus Roache, and Sam Waterston.

In remarks to the audience, AFJ President Nan Aron reminded attendees of the staggering justice work left to be done, calling listeners’ attention to the ongoing tragedy endured by workers and families on the Gulf Coast. Recalling the Exxon-Valdez spill, Nan noted the unequal standard of justice applied by the Roberts Court: “In their confirmation hearings, John Roberts and Samuel Alito promised to apply the law fairly to everyone. In the Exxon case, they sacrificed the rights of 32,000 fishermen, native Alaskans, and small business owners to the specious claims of one of the most profitable corporations on Earth—and that was not a promise kept.” Nan went on to highlight the Court's pro-corporate leaning, noting the Court's super-majority of rulings in favor of big-business last session, and its protection of corporate speech in Citizens United.

Alliance for Justice would like to thank Harold Koh, Urvashi Vaid, Elaine Jones, the cast and crew of Law & Order, and all of yesterday’s attendees for their tireless work to uphold justice, and the work they are sure to do in the future. As Nan said yesterday, “For over 30 years, Alliance for Justice has demanded change, fought for change, brought change. Why stop now?”

photos by Stu Zolotorow