December 1, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 48
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Sunday, Sep 20, 2020



Reproductive freedom advocate, attorneys in landmark case, student editors receive ACLU awards
Reproductive freedom advocate, attorneys in landmark case, student editors receive ACLU awards
Reproductive freedom advocate Marcy Bloom, attorneys Don Scaramastra and David Taylor, and student editors Claire Lueneburg and Sara Eccleston are to receive awards from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington.

The awards were presented at the ACLU's Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner on Saturday, Nov.18 at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle. Featured speaker was Lt Commander Charles Swift, the military lawyer who won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the use of military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo.

Marcy Bloom is recipient of the 2006 William O. Douglas Award, the ACLU of Washington's highest honor. The award is given for outstanding, consistent, and sustained contributions to civil liberties. A courageous advocate for civil liberties, Marcy Bloom has long been a leader in safeguarding the fundamental right to reproductive freedom. Bloom served for 18 years as the executive director and guiding force of the Aradia Women's Health Center, Seattle's first nonprofit abortion and gynecological health center, and a model for clinics nationwide.

Her activism spans the history of the reproductive rights movement. Bloom was on the front lines at a time when reproductive rights were not yet protected, helping women to locate safe providers and personally guiding them to states where abortions were legal and accessible. In the decades that followed, she dedicated herself to making health care and reproductive services available to all women.

In addition to her visionary role in shaping Aradia, she stood up to picketing and threats by anti-choice forces, assisted in exam rooms, lobbied the legislature, carried speculums to clinics in Mexico, and sat on the steering committee that oversaw the passage of Initiative 120, Washington's reproductive freedom law.

The Civil Libertarian Award honors people who have made recent outstanding contributions to civil liberties in Washington. Working pro bono, honorees Don Scaramastra of Garvey Schubert Bauer and David Taylor of Perkins Coie LLP showed exemplary commitment and skill in gaining a notable victory for effective legal representation regardless of wealth.

In a landmark settlement in November 2005, Grant County agreed to overhaul its deficient system of public defense to ensure that indigent people accused of felonies have access to a constitutionally adequate defense. The County also agreed to submit to comprehensive monitoring - a first for a county public defense system in Washington and an outcome which has gained national attention.

Scaramastra and Taylor, along with a team of attorneys handling the suit for the ACLU-WA and Columbia Legal Services, put in hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work on a complex case. The victory in this ground-breaking case creates a model for defense reform statewide.

The Youth Activist Award is presented to young people whose activism exemplifies work to defend and extend liberty and justice for all. Award recipients Claire Lueneburg and Sara Eccleston, co-editors of The Kodak newspaper at Everett High School in 2005-06, made a determined stand for their First Amendment rights as student journalists. Lueneburg and Eccleston have inspired their fellow students, teachers, and the journalism community with their unwillingness to back down in defense of the right to a free press.

When their school set a new policy making the paper subject to review before publication, they resisted, citing a longstanding tradition of student editors making all content decisions. The school was unresponsive and barred Lueneburg and Eccleston's paper from going to press without review. Rather than giving up, the two filed a lawsuit in 2005 against their school district; it is scheduled to go to trial in 2007. At the ACLU of Washington's Student Conference on Civil Liberties and elsewhere, they have delivered passionate accounts of their efforts - and of the need to respect the free speech rights of young people.

A ACLU press release

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