Fulbright Award to Martin Garbus
Waldorf-Astoria, New York, May 23, 2012
“Renowned in this country as a trial lawyer without peer and a legendary First Amendment attorney, Martin Garbus has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and has written briefs which have resulted in changes in the law on a nationwide basis. A champion of human rights, he has been a lawyer for individual defendants or an observer for international organizations in South Africa, Chile, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Soviet Union. He provided legal counsel and representation to Andrei Sakharov, Nelson Mandela and the late Václav Havel, among other leaders on the international stage. He has also consulted on constitutional and communications law in countries including China, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, and Rwanda. In 2007 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to China, teaching not only students in Beijing law schools but also government officials, judges, and legal professionals drafting new laws there.
“Mr. Garbus earned his law degree from New York University Law School. He attended Columbia University as a Master’s Candidate in economics, The New School as a Master’s Candidate in English, and New York University School of Law as a Master’s Candidate in tax law. He taught trial practice at the Yale Law School and Constitutional law at Columbia, and has lectured at Harvard University Law School and Stanford Law School. He is the author of six books including China’s Legal System: The Ten Techniques of Torture, Courting Disaster: The Supreme Court and the Unmaking of American Law, and Traitors & Heroes: A Lawyer’s Memoir, in which he wrote:
‘The need for a world-wide commitment to human rights is apparent and urgent. The best guarantee against tyranny everywhere, but especially in countries where tyranny has often seemed acceptable to the majority, is a heightened public sense of why it is repulsive.’
‘Much of Mr. Garbus’ career has been dedicated to bearing witness and creating this ‘heightened public sense.’ His numerous articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and in legal publications. He has given hundreds of talks before Bar Associations, corporations, and law schools, and on CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN, conveying his passionate dedication to ethics, justice, free speech, and the rule of law. ‘Ultimately,’ he said, ‘all countries have to decide whether the rule of law is meaningful or significant to them, and to what degree they will uphold it. The rule of law is what separates democracy and dictatorships.’
“Mr. Garbus has been involved in landmark Supreme Court cases including King v. Smith, a unanimous 9-0 decision striking down laws that had disenfranchised one million people in 14 states. In this and other cases, his work has established new legal precedents in the Supreme Court and courts throughout the country. In 2007, he was awarded the PEN USA First Amendment Award of Honor.”