FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2009
Contact: Matthew Dunlap
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
Receives 2009 Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award
Minneapolis, MN- Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was selected to receive the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award at the National Association of Secretaries of State summer meeting in Minneapolis, MN. O’Connor, who stepped down from the Supreme Court in 2005, will be recognized for her efforts to combat threats to the judicial independence of federal and state courts. She was nominated by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and will be presented the award at the NASS 2010 winter meeting in Washington, DC next February.
Established in 1992, the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award is named after the former U.S. Senator from Maine, who jeopardized her career by speaking out against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph P. McCarthy in the 1950's. Recipients of the award are recognized for similar acts of political courage, uncommon character, and selfless action in the realm of public service.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap noted, “The National Association of Secretaries of State’s Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award honors the courage and determination of people who risk their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. It’s presented to the person whose actions demonstrate the quality of public courage so essential to a democracy.”
Past recipients include Ruby Duncan, Civil Rights Activist/Founder, John J. Sirica, the chief judge who presided over the Watergate scandal, Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr., co-founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. A complete list of MCS Award winners can be viewed here: http://nass.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=133.
The national conference also inducted its new slate of national officers who will oversee association activities for the 2009-2010 cycle. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap was inducted as President-Elect of the association and will serve in that capacity through July, 2010.