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The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were established in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans. The first award winners were named in 1980. Nominees traditionally have come from the areas of journalism, education, publishing, law, government, and arts and entertainment.

2020 Winners

Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz (Arts & Entertainment): Documentary filmmakers, for their successful battle to overcome the US government's attempts at censoring their film, "Immigration Nation," and delaying its release until after the November 2020 Presidential election.


Andrea L. Dennis and Erik Nielson (Book Publishing): Dennis, the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, and Nielson, the Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Richmond, for their book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America, a groundbreaking exposé about the alarming use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence to convict and incarcerate young men of color.

Omar Jimenez (Journalism): Journalist and CNN Correspondent, for representing the power of consummate professionalism during his on-camera arrest while covering the George Floyd protests in Minnesota.


David E. McCraw (Law): Deputy General Counsel of The New York Times, for his book Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts. McCraw has led the Times' fight for freedom of information since 2002. From Chelsea Manning’s leaks to Trump’s tax returns, McCraw is central to the paper’s ability to fulfill the public’s right to know.


Michael Frazier (Education): Student at the University of Kentucky, and LGBTQ and First Amendment Rights Activist, for working to eliminate free speech zones on campus and successfully leading the effort to draft and enact the bipartisan Kentucky Campus Free Speech Protection Act.

Ira Glasser (Lifetime Achievement): For his fierce defense of freedom of speech and expression during his 23-year tenure as Executive Director of the ACLU. He is widely recognized as building the robust infrastructure that is today’s ACLU.  By the time Ira retired, the ACLU had a $30 million endowment, offices in every state, and was more powerful than ever. Additionally, he saw earlier than most the disproportionate racial consequences of the War on Drugs.

2020 Judges


  • Ted Boutrous, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and global Co-Chair of the firm's Litigation Group.

  • Kyle Pope, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review.


2019 Winners

Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff (Book Publishing): Haidt, a Social Psychologist at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and Lukianoff, President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for their book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.


Grace Marion (Journalism): Former Editor-In-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Playwickian, for her fight against an especially heavy regime of school censorship and for her investigative reporting on the school’s lack of sexual misconduct records for its teachers.


Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. (Law): Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and global Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation Group, for successfully representing CNN and Jim Acosta in bringing First Amendment and Due Process claims against President Donald Trump, forcing the White House to restore Mr. Acosta’s press credentials.


Dr. George E. Luber, PhD (Government): Former Chief of the Climate and Health Program in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for his outspoken defense of science education and climate change, despite the risk of termination.


Christian Bales (Education): 2018 Valedictorian of Holy Cross High School and an openly gay and gender nonconforming student, for creatively and inspirationally expressing their free speech rights in delivering their valedictory speech with a bullhorn following the commencement ceremony, after the school tried to suppress it by refusing to let them speak during graduation.


Floyd Abrams (Lifetime Achievement): Senior Counsel, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, for his lifelong devotion to Constitutional law. Abrams has argued numerous significant First Amendment cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Many arguments he has made orally, and in his briefs to the Court, have been adopted by it as binding precedent protecting freedom of speech and of the press from infringement by the government.

2019 Judges


  • Neal Katyal, the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University, a Partner at Hogan Lovells, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States.

  • Michael B. Keegan, president of People for the American Way and People for the American Way Foundation.

  • Karen Tumulty, a columnist and former national political correspondent for The Washington Post who writes frequently on free speech and the First Amendment.

2018 Winners

Laura Kipnis (Book Publishing): Cultural critic, essayist, and Professor of Media Studies at Northwestern University in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, for her book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.


Jamie Kalven (Journalism): Writer and Executive Director of Invisible Institute, for resisting a subpoena demanding he reveal a source after breaking the story of the fatal 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in Chicago.


Simon Tam (Arts & Entertainment): Founder and bassist of the all-Asian American rock band, The Slants, for his successful seven-year battle to defend the right to register the band’s trademark after they were denied based on the grounds that the name was deemed disparaging by the government.


Allison Stanger (Education): Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics, and founding director of the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, at Middlebury College, for staunchly defending the free exchange of ideas on college campuses.


Joan E. Bertin (Lifetime Achievement): Longtime Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, for her decades long commitment to the defense of freedom of thought and expression in all forms.


2018 Judges


  • Michael Bamberger, senior counsel in the New York office of the law firm Dentons and, since 1977, general counsel of the Media Coalition.

  • Shelby Coffey III, vice chair of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and senior fellow of the Freedom Forum.

  • Zephyr Teachout, political activist, former political candidate, and Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law.


2017 Winners


Timothy Garton Ash (Book Publishing): Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, for his book, Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (Yale University Press, 2016).


Jenni Monet (Print Journalism): An independent journalist, whose on-the-ground reporting of the protests opposing the months-long militarized protection of Standing Rock and the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline was critical to understanding a volatile, important moment in American history.


Hasan Elahi (Arts & Entertainment): Associate Professor, Department of Art at the University of Maryland, for his work as an interdisciplinary artist pushing the boundaries of surveillance, privacy, migration, citizenship, technology, and the challenges of the borders.


Burt Neuborne (Lifetime Achievement): Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties at NYU Law School, for his lifelong courage and indefatigable defense of the First Amendment as one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties lawyers, teachers, and scholars.


2017 Judges


  • Lara Bergthold, a Principal Partner at RALLY and Executive Director of the Lear Family Foundation.

  • Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

  • Davan Maharaj, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of the Los Angeles Times.


2015 Winners


Zephyr Teachout (Book Publishing): Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University school of Law, for her book, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press 2014).


James Risen (Print Journalism): Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times correspondent in the Washington bureau, who lived for seven years under the threat of imprisonment for vigorously defending journalists' First Amendment right to protect their confidential sources.  


Malkia Cyril (Government): Executive Director, Center for Media Justice, and co-founder of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), served as the driving force behind a coalition of 175 grassroots community groups that framed net neutrality as a civil rights and free speech principle of the Internet.


Steven Listopad (Education): Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media and Student Media Director, Valley City State University in North Dakota, who served as a shining example to teachers everywhere when he helped his students craft the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive statutes protecting North Dakota student journalists.


Victor Navasky (Lifetime Achievement): for his unwavering defense of the First Amendment and distinguished career as a journalist, editor, publisher and author, who, as an independent, truth-telling bellwether in American journalism asks tough questions, takes principled stances, and offers contextualized commentary that transcends the ephemeral moment.


2015 Judges


  • Ronald Brownstein, Editorial Director for Strategic Partnerships, Atlantic Media, and weekly columnist, National Journal.

  • Mike Hiestand, former staff attorney, Student Press Law Center and 2014 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Pamela Samuelson, Faculty Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Richard M Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law.


2014 Winners


Thomas Healy (Book Publishing):  For his book, The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America, which constructs in vivid detail Holmes’ journey from free speech opponent to First Amendment hero.

Glenn Greenwald (Journalism): Who as author, constitutional lawyer and investigative journalist, The Intercept, courageously published the first of a series of reports detailing American and British surveillance programs, based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.


Chris Finan (Law): Who as President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression presented key issues of the impact of the attacks of 9/11 on First Amendment rights to middle and high school students in his book, National Security and Free Speech: The Debate Since 9/11.


Muneer Awad (Government): Who as former executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, stood up to an unprecedented, discriminatory proposal to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to target the religious practices of Muslims and undercut a central concern of the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


Michael Hiestand and Mary Beth Tinker (Education): For organizing the Tinker Tour, the national free speech and civic education bus tour to promote the First Amendment to schools and communities throughout America.


Norman Dorsen (Lifetime Achievement): Who as Stokes Professor of Law, New York University School of Law, and Counselor to the University President, for more than a half a century, has been at the forefront of the fight to advance fundamental freedoms and protect civil rights and civil liberties.


2014 Judges


  • Joan E. Bertin, Executive Director of National Coalition Against Censorship, an advocacy organization that promotes freedom of thought, inquiry and expression, and opposes censorship in all its forms.

  • Margaret Carlson, Journalist at Bloomberg News, where she writes a column. She is best known for being the first female columnist at TIME magazine. She was a panelist on CNN's Capital Gang for 15 years and covered four presidential elections for TIME.

  • Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, a position she first held from 1993, where she has maintained strong relationships with leaders in the United States Congress and the Obama Administration to advance the ACLU’s public policy priorities including national security, civil rights and First Amendment issues.


2013 Winners


Marjorie Heins (Book Publishing), for her book, Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge, a chronicle of the history, law, and personal stories behind the struggle to recognize academic freedom as "a special concern of the First Amendment."


John Perry Barlow; Daniel Ellsberg; Rainey Reitman; Trevor Timm (Journalism): Who as cofounders of the Freedom the Press Foundation created an organization to promote and fund aggressive public-interest journalism.


Colonel Morris Davis, (Government): Who as Assistant Director and Senior Specialist in National Security, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, and despite great risks expressed his personal views on the Guantanamo Military Commissions, a matter of intense public interest and debate, thus inspiring others to speak out.


Jessica Ahlquist (Education): For her courageous and successful lawsuit over a prayer banner in her Rhode Island high school, a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


Norman Lear (Lifetime Achievement): For his unwavering defense of the fundamental values laid out in the Bill of Rights, and his commitment to nurturing a new generation of young leaders fighting for the American Way.


2013 Judges


  • Dr. Charles C. Haynes, Director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and senior scholar at the First Amendment Center.

  • Ramona Ripston, Former Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California.

  • Henry Weinstein, Founding Faculty, with Joint appointments in Literary Journalism and Law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law.


2012 Winners


Rebecca MacKinnon (Book Publishing): For her first book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, published by Basic Books in January 2012.


Pablo Alvarado (Law): For successfully using the First Amendment to challenge ordinances that prevented day laborers from soliciting work on city sidewalks in Redondo Beach, California.


Thomas Drake (Government): Who shared an award with Jesselyn Radack, who represented him in his case for blowing the whistle on his employer the National Security Agency for massive waste, contract fraud, government wrongdoing and violations of the 4th Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.


Zack Kopplin (Education): Who led the effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, stealth legislation to promote the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public school science class.


Stanley Sheinbaum (Lifetime Achievement): For his unmatched vision and courage on important issues including civil rights and civil liberties, economic justice, human rights, police reform, and world peace.


2012 Judges


  • Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief of Truthdig.

  • Patricia Scott Schroeder, Former Democratic Representative, Colorado,  and previous President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Publishers.

  • Hector Villagra, Executive Director of ACLU of Southern California.


2008 Winners


Mark Klein (Government): Whistleblower who spoke out against the participation of AT&T in the warrantless electronic surveillance practices of the government.


Heather Gillman (Education): For speaking out on behalf of the rights of gay students at Ponce de Leon High School in Florida and winning an injunction forbidding high school officials from violating their students' First Amendment rights. 


Greg Lukianoff (Freedom of Expression): For defending the freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience of students and faculty on the nation's college campuses. 


2008 Judges


  • David Rubin, Professor and former Dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

  • Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at University of Chicago Law School.

  • Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law, New York Law School.


2006 Winners


Geoffrey R. Stone (Book Publishing): For Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism, which sounds a clarion call for robust protection of First Amendment freedoms especially in times of national crisis.


Paisley Dodds (Journalism): Who, as an Associated Press reporter, vigorously supported the public's right to know, by reporting on the activities at the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and then suing under the Freedom of Information Act for the release of thousands of pages of tribunal transcripts, which revealed numerous complaints about prisoner abuse. 


Shelby Knox (Arts and Entertainment): Who, as a student, and subject of the film, The Education of Shelby Knox, challenged abstinence-only sex education and alarmist misinformation in her Lubbock, Texas high school to fight for medically accurate sexuality education and lesbian and gay rights.


Marion Lipschutz (Arts and Entertainment): Who, as producer/director of The Education of Shelby Knox, exposed the consequences of abridging students' right to learn through abstinence-only education that prohibits teachers from giving comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education.


Rose Rosenblatt (Arts and Entertainment): Who, as producer/director of The Education of Shelby Knox, exposed the consequences of abridging students' right to learn through abstinence-only education that prohibits teachers from giving comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education.


Jack Spadaro (Government): Who, as director of the National Mine Safety and Health Academy, put his life on the line when he blew the whistle on irresponsible mining practices, corporate collusion and government cover-up in the wake of an environmental mining disaster.


Patricia Princehouse (Education): Who, as the leader of Ohio Citizens for Science, seeing a profound and rising challenge to the separation of church and state in our schools, organized a successful coalition to preserve science education in Ohio's public schools.


Rhett Jackson (Lifetime Achievement): Who, with indefatigable dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the proposition that the printed word should be available to all, has committed his life to the First Amendment and social justice for more than 40 years.


2006 Judges



2002-2003 Winners


David Cole (Book Publishing) Who, as a constitutional law scholar and professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and author of  Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism, a masterful and compelling book, educated the public about the discriminatory and abusive treatment of non-citizens in the wake of 9/11 and the PATRIOT Act.


Ronald K. L. Collins (Book Publishing): Who, as legal scholar at the First Amendment Center and co-author of the book The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon, co-founded the campaign to exonerate Lenny Bruce of the obscenity conviction that hastened his demise.


David Michael Skover (Book Publishing): Who, as a constitutional scholar and professor of law at Seattle University School of Law, and co-author of the book The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon, laid the groundwork for the posthumous pardon of Lenny Bruce for his obscenity conviction in New York City.


Talia Buford (Print Journalism): Who, as the courageous editor-in-chief of the Hampton Script, served as an inspiration to student journalists everywhere when she won the promise of an uncensored student newspaper at Hampton University.


Bill Maher (Arts and Entertainment): Who, as host of Politically Incorrect, spoke out at a time when Americans were being encouraged to abandon the Bill of Rights in exchange for the false comfort of "national security."


Nate Blakeslee (Law):  Who, as a reporter for the Texas Observer, chronicled prosecutorial misconduct in Tulia, Texas, forced the issue of racial and economic disparity in drug sentencing into the national spotlight, and educated the public about much needed judicial reforms.


Steven Aftergood (Government): Who, as a senior research analyst and editor of Secrecy News, a newsletter of the Federation of American Scientists, keeps Americans apprised of the inner workings of government secrecy and promotes reform of its secret processes.


Trina Magi (Education): Who, as President of the Vermont Library Association, organized a grassroots campaign to amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which undermines Americans' right to read and access information without governmental intrusion or interference.


Linda Ramsdell (Education) Who, as owner of Galaxy Bookshop and president of the New England Booksellers Association, organized a grassroots campaign to amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act that threatens the free marketplace of ideas and undercuts democracy.


Molly Ivins (Lifetime Achievement): Who, as an author and syndicated columnist for nearly 25 years, keeps the First Amendment alive through her unflagging dedication, energy and humor, while informing the public of erosions to freedom.


2002-2003 Judges



2000-2001 Winners


Michael Kent Curtis (Publishing): Who, as a constitutional scholar and professor of law at Wake Forest University School of Law and author of the book Free Speech, The People's Darling Privilege: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History, recounts America's hard-fought battles for freedom of expression.


Dr. William Lawbaugh (Print Journalism): Who, for 14 years, has served as associate professor of communications and faculty advisor to the biweekly student newspaper, The Mountain Echo, at Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and who serves as a brilliant example for faculty advisors facing attempts by college officials to muzzle student journalists. 


Penn & Teller (Arts and Entertainment): Who, as comedians and magicians, have threaded their work with serious messages and have educated non-traditional and often unsuspecting audiences about the value of the First Amendment's protections. 


James Wheaton (Law): Who, as senior counsel and co-founder of the Oakland-based First Amendment Project, for nearly a decade has quietly championed the rights of scores of Californians against lawsuits designed to deter citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights.


Mary Dana (Education): Who, as a teacher at Michigan's Creekside Middle School and as co-founder of "Muggles for Harry Potter," undertook a successful campaign to challenge the school superintendent's decision to ban books from the Zeeland Public Schools' curricula.


Nancy Zennie (Education): Who, as a parent of two students attending the Zeeland Public Schools and co-founder of "Muggles for Harry Potter," rallied the public to oppose the ban on Harry Potter books in the public schools of Zeeland, Michigan. 


John Seigenthaler (Lifetime Achievement): Who, as founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, has for more than four decades educated journalists and the public on the breadth of First Amendment ideals, ensuring the free flow of ideas that strengthen our nation.


2000-2001 Judges



1999 Winners


Bruce Sanford (Publishing): A partner in the law firm of Baker & Hostetler, who, through his book, Don't Shoot the Messenger: How Our Growing Hatred of the Media Threatens Free Speech for All of Us, sounded a wakeup call about the dangers to democracy from the public's ever increasing mistrust of those who present the news.


Michael Moore (Arts and Entertainment): Muckraker, author and documentary filmmaker, who, with humor and satire, serves as the voice of the common man while educating the public about issues critical to preserving First Amendment rights.


Jeri McGiverin (Law): Who, as past president and co-founder of Mainstream Loudoun, a nonprofit, grassroots, membership organization whose purpose is to preserve personal and religious freedoms, successfully challenged the policy of requiring Internet filtering in public libraries.


Elaine Williamson (Law): Founding member and president of Mainstream Loudoun, who organized a grassroots campaign successfully challenging the policy of requiring Internet filters in public libraries, ensuring that libraries adhere to the First Amendment.


Dr. Eugenie C. Scott (Education): Executive director of the National Center for Science Education, who, with very limited resources, tirelessly defends the separation of church and state by ensuring that religious neutrality is maintained in the science curriculum of America's public schools.


Nicholas Becker (Individual Conscience): Sunderland, Maryland, Northern High School graduate who showed great courage in speaking up against prayer at his graduation and for the rights of those who do not share the majority religious belief.


Donald Parker (Lifetime Achievement); Co-founder and co-coordinator of the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship, for his indefatigable dedication to informing the public about free speech for nearly 40 years, and for his unflagging energy that keeps the First Amendment alive.


1999 Judges


  • Mark Goodman, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center.

  • Molly Ivins, Author and Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Creators Syndicate.

  • Barbara Kopple, Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker.

  • Clarence Page, Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Chicago Tribune


1998 Winners


Goodloe and Jean Sutton (Journalism): Who, as the owner, editor and publisher of the Democrat-Reporter, and investigative reporter and managing editor, respectively, showed great courage and persistence in the face of enormous political and personal pressure by informing the citizens of Linden, Alabama about corruption and malfeasance by county law-enforcement officials.


Lee Brawner (Education): Who, as executive director of the Metropolitan Library System, with energy, clarity, and devotion to the principals of intellectual freedom, educated the citizens of Oklahoma City about the dangers of censoring library materials, despite unrelenting attacks by religious conservatives.


Tisha Byars (Individual Conscience): For, while a high school student in Waterbury, Connecticut, upholding her right to refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and successfully challenging the school district and, by her action, affirming the right of other students to freely express their beliefs without fear of reprisal.


1998 Judges


1997 Winners


Katharine Swan (Journalism): Teacher and advisor to the staff of the West Wing, a student publication, who in the face of daunting odds, including opposition from the school administration, understood and enshrined the value of the First Amendment and the pursuit of journalistic truth in her students.


American Civil Liberties Union (Law): For its successful challenge to the Communications Decency Act, the most important free speech case of the decade, which affirmed the vitality of an unfettered marketplace of ideas, thus extending free speech protection to the Internet.


American Library Association (Law): As the organizer of the Citizens' Internet Empowerment Coalition, the American Library Association successfully challenged the Communications Decency Act, thus ensuring the importance of libraries in making information in all forms available and accessible to everyone.


Dr. Frederic Whitehurst (Government): Supervisory special agent and forensic chemist for the FBI, for jeopardizing his life's work and, despite retaliation for his efforts, making public his assertions of fraud and scientific misconduct within the FBI crime lab.


Cecile Richards (Education): Who, as the founding executive director and moving spirit behind the Texas Freedom Network and the Texas Faith Network, successfully organized a broad coalition of clergy and community leaders to challenge the extremism of the religious right.


Kelli Peterson (Individual Conscience): Who, in a daring act of conscience, organized the Gay Straight Student Alliance at Salt Lake City's East High School and serves as a role model for youth and adults to work against homophobia in their communities and schools.


1997 Judges


  • Anthony Griffin, Attorney, 1994 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Bobbie Handman, Vice President, People for the American Way.

  • Burton Joseph, Attorney, Barsy, Joseph & Lichtenstein; Chairman, The Playboy Foundation.


1995-1996 Winners


Seth Rosenfeld (Print Journalism): Legal and investigative reporter, San Francisco Examiner, who waged an extraordinary and successful 14-year struggle to expose government encroachments on freedom of speech, the right to dissent and academic autonomy at the University of California-Berkeley.


Mary Morello (Arts and Entertainment): Retired school teacher and founder of Parents for Rock and Rap, who, tirelessly defends the artistic freedom of musicians.


Tom Hull (Law): Cofounder of the "No Censorship-No On 19" campaign for educating and mobilizing a broad coalition of voters to defeat censorship efforts in Oregon.


Jeffrey DeBonis (Government): Founder, Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, for galvanizing federal employees to speak up about their environmental concerns and become a voice for collective reform.


Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua (Education): Author and associate director of the Teachers Academy at Dallas Institute for Humanities & Culture, for eloquently and courageously defending the right of teachers and students to study the works of Mark Twain in the classroom.


Morton Mintz (Lifetime Achievement): Author and freelance journalist for his high-minded and principled dedication to freedom of the press and the freedom of all Americans from corporate and government negligence and malfeasance.


1995-1996 Judges


  • Chris Finan, Executive Director, The Media Coalition.

  • Marjorie Heins, Director and Staff Counsel, The American Civil Liberties Union Arts Censorship Project.

  • Sydney Schanberg, Journalist, 1991 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.


1993-1994 Winners


Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon (Book Publishing): Media critics, syndicated columnist and coauthors of Adventures in Medialand: Behind the News, Beyond the Pundits, a collection of commentaries in which they boldly and irreverently critique the news media.


Robert Landauer (Print Journalism): Who, as editorial page editor of The Oregonian, when faced with an anti-homosexual constitutional amendment, challenged homophobic fears and myths and predicted the consequences of a bigoted policy, thus ensuring continued civil liberties and civil rights for all citizens of Oregon.


Anthony Griffin (Law): Attorney and volunteer counsel for the Texas Civil Liberties Union, for his dedication to the principle that the First Amendment protects even those whose ideas are offensive, by defending the rights of the Ku Klux Klan to be free of government intrusion.


Jim Warren (Government): Computer columnist, who as the first person to use online advocacy and network-assisted citizen action organized a grassroots campaign to bring access to state government records to citizens throughout California.


Carole Marlowe (Education): Drama teacher, Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, Arizona, who, when her students were denied the right to perform The Shadow Box, staged a dramatic reading of the play that provided a far greater opportunity for community discussion of censorship, the First Amendment and artistic freedom.


Jean Otto (Lifetime Achievement): Guiding force behind the First Amendment Congress and the Education for Freedom curriculum, which educates children in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and who has devoted her life to informing the public of its First Amendment freedoms.


1993-1994 Judges


  • Rex Armstrong, Attorney and Volunteer Counsel, ACLU of Oregon, 1988 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Carl Jensen, Founder, Project Censored, 1992 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Jessica Mitford, Author and Social Activist.


1992 Winners


Natalie Robins (Book Publishing): Distinguished poet and author of Alien Ink: The FBI's War on Freedom of Expression, who, by conducting diligent and exhaustive research, exposed the government's continuing campaign to undermine freedom of expression for American writers and journalists.


Dannie Martin (Journalism): Freelance journalist and essayist, who, for six years, wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, risking his personal freedom to inform the public about life in prison, despite attempts by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to silence him.


Peter Sussman (Journalism): Editor of "Sunday Punch," in the San Francisco Chronicle, who waged a four-year battle against the Federal Bureau of Prisons' attempts to restrict the First Amendment rights of inmate Dannie Martin and the news media.


Bruce Rogow (Law): Professor of Law, Nova University Law Center in Florida, and cooperating attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, who eloquently and successfully challenged the application of obscenity law to a musical composition.


Carl Jensen (Education): Professor of communications studies, Sonoma State University, and founding director of Project Censored, who, through his commitment to the public's right to know, challenges the news media by annually publicizing media censorship, thus stimulating coverage the public needs to make informed decisions about important issues.


Jules Feiffer (Individual Conscience): Cartoonist and social satirist, who, for nearly 40 years, has promoted First Amendment values in his weekly strips and his life, giving selflessly of his time and talent to defend the principles of free expression and the First Amendment.


1992 Judges


  • Dennis Barrie, Executive Director, Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati. 1990 Hugh M Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Norman Dorsen, Stokes Professor of Law, New York University Law School.

  • Mark Goodman, Executive Director, Student Press Law Center.

  • Barbara Kopple, Two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker.

  • Reginald Stuart, Assistant News Editor, Knight-Ridder Newspapers


1991 Winners


Allan Adler (Publishing): Attorney, who, for almost ten years, served as editor of the annual editions of Litigation Under the federal Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act and as author of Using the Freedom of Information Act: A Step-by-Step Guide, played a key role in defending the public's right to obtain and disseminate information.


Debbie Nathan (Journalism): Freelance journalist, who, through her articles, exposed the witch-hunt mentality behind day-care sexual-abuse cases and used the First Amendment to defend those accused of sexual abuse against a lynch mob of social hysteria.


Bella Lewitzky (Arts and Entertainment): Founder and director of the Lewitzky Dance Company, who, despite the risk posed to her dance company and future sources of support, on principle, successfully challenged the National Endowment for the Arts anti-obscenity pledge, thus providing a shining and courageous example of dedication to the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.


Traci Bauer (Law): Editor-in-chief of the student paper The Southwest Standard, who successfully challenged the refusal by school officials to permit access to campus crime reports, thus enhancing the First Amendment rights of student journalists and the rights of students to make informed decisions about their safety.


Sydney Schanberg (Government): Columnist and associate editor of New York Newsday, who, through his boldly written critiques, challenged his readers to examine the Pentagon's control and manipulation of the press during the Gulf War. Serving as an individual plaintiff, he joined others in filing suit to end such censorship.


James Dana (Education): Bookstore owner and president of the Great Lakes Booksellers Association, who, in the face of organized pressure from right-wing zealots, effectively mobilized a broad coalition to oppose Michigan censorship legislation.


Inez Austin (Individual Conscience): Senior engineer at the Westinghouse Hanford Tank Farms, who jeopardized her career when, through an act of conscience, she refused to consent to the hazardous disposal of nuclear and chemical wastes, thus serving as an example and hero to others who blow the whistle on issues of public health and safety.


1991 Judges


  • Arthur Kropp, President, People for the American Way.

  • Barry Lynn, Co-Host Battleline, news radio talk show, 1986 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Eve Pell, Investigative Journalist, Freedom of Information Project, 1989 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Tom Wicker, Political Columnist, the New York Times.


1990 Winners


Paul Conrad (Journalism): Editorial cartoonist at the Los Angeles Times, who, for 40 years, has used the power of his pen to inform and educate his readers and defend the rights of the powerless.


Danny Goldberg (Arts and Entertainment): Record Producer and chairman of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, who, as cofounder of the Musical Majority, has effectively and energetically used his position to galvanize the recording industry and consumers to oppose the muzzling of recording artists and the labeling of records.


Hans A. Linde (Law): Retired justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, who, through his efforts as teacher, lecturer and judge, has made outstanding contributions to the development of state constitutional law that secures greater First Amendment protection for the citizens of Oregon than those established by federal courts.


Marilyn Athmann (Education): Teacher and yearbook advisor at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, who saw a dangerous precedent in allowing the principal to control student publications. Despite being fired from the position as yearbook advisor, she valiantly maintained the First Amendment rights of student journalists.


Dennis Barrie (Individual Conscience): Director of the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, who, despite organized pressure from right-wing forces and despite having been indicted on criminal charges, upheld the right of the museum to exhibit works it finds worthy.


Studs Terkel (Lifetime Achievement): Whose enduring commitment to First Amendment freedoms has been exhibited consistently throughout his career as oral historian, author, 

broadcaster and lecturer.


1990 Judges


  • Herbert N. Foerstel, Head of Branch Libraries, University of Maryland, 1988 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Robert Scheer, National Correspondent, the Los Angeles Times.

  • Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative, California


1989 Winners


Eve Pell (Journalism): Investigative journalist, for her commitment to freedom of speech and open government and devotion to exposing threats to the First Amendment through her reporting.


James A. Haught (Journalism): Chief Associate Editor of the Charleston Gazette, who, as a sometimes lonely voice in Appalachia, has waged a consistent battle to educate his readers on the First Amendment principle of separation of church and state.


Joann Bell (Law): Who, despite great personal loss, had the courage and steadfast belief in the principle of the separation of church and state to challenge an Oklahoma school board's vote to hold religious meetings on public school property.


Thomas Michael Devine (Government): Who, on behalf of both government and corporate whistleblowers, played a central role in the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act, which guarantees the free-speech rights of federal employees.


Louis E. Ingelhart (Education): Professor Emeritus at Ball State University, who, as a fountain of information on student press freedoms, has spent a lifetime dedicated to championing the First Amendment rights of student journalists.


John Henry Faulk (Individual Conscience): Humorist, author and lecturer, who successfully ended blacklisting in the television industry and who, for more than four decades, has defended the Bill of Rights with indefatigable humor and dedication of principle.


Anthony Lewis (Lifetime Achievement): Columnist for the New York Times, who, through his column, ''Abroad at Home," serves as America's conscience by informing and educating the public on constitutional issues and on the basic values embodied in the First Amendment.


1989 Judges


  • Judith Krug, Director, The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom.

  • Jack C. Landau, Attorney at Law; Nationally Syndicated Columnist, The Newhouse Newspapers, 1985 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, the Chicago Tribune.

  • Harriet Pilpel, Attorney at Law, Weil, Gotshal & Manges; General Counsel, Planned Parenthood Federation of America


1988 Winners


Jamie Kalven (Book Publishing): Journalist and editor, for his singular and outstanding achievement in completing and editing his father's book, A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America, a critically acclaimed examination of the dialogue between society and the courts.


David Arnett (Journalism): Editor and publisher of the Independent Student News, who, despite the uncertainty of looking to the courts for First Amendment protection for students, fought for an independent student press for Tulsa's junior colleges.


Rex Armstrong (Law): Attorney and volunteer counsel for the ACLU of Oregon, who, in the face of adverse precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court, presented creative and articulate arguments that provide greater protection for freedom of expression under the Oregon state constitution.


Eric Robert Glitzenstein (Government): Attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, for breathing life into the Freedom of Information Act by winning two landmark cases that paved the way for public access to presidential records and mandated that the act provide broad disclosure of government records.


Herbert Foerstel (Education): Head of Branch Libraries at the University of Maryland, for his vigorous efforts to maintain the basic right of privacy and access to public information by bringing attention to the chilling effect of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's vigilante Library Awareness Program.


Roy Woodruff (Individual Conscience): Director of the Nuclear Weapons Program at the Livermore National Laboratory, who jeopardized his life's work in a daring act of individual conscience that made public his assessment of the Strategic Defense Initiative.


1988 Judges


  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault, New York Correspondent, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.

  • Anthony Lewis, Syndicated Columnist, the New York Times.

  • Steven Pico, First Amendment Lecturer and Advocate, 1982 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Tom Wicker, Political Columnist, the New York Times.


1986-1987 Winners


Walter Karp (Book Publishing): Author and contributing editor of Harper's magazine, for his boldly written critiques and lectures on the government's systematic attempts to suppress information.


Charles Levendosky (Journalism): Editorial-page editor and columnist of the Casper Star-Tribune, for maintaining public interest in First Amendment issues at the grass roots level.


William A. Bradford, Jr., Ricki Seidman and Mary Weidler (Law): For providing pro-bono legal representation, advice and counsel to parents and teachers who intervened to defend the Alabama State Board of Education against religiously motivated censorship.


Barry Lynn (Government): Ordained minister and legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, for leading the effort to inform the public about the flaws in the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography.


Glenna Nowell (Education): Director, Gardiner Public Library, and past president, Maine Library Association, for her articulate and successful effort to mobilize early opposition to the Maine censorship referendum.


1986-1987 Judges



1985 Winners


Ronnie Dugger (Journalism): For his resoluteness in challenging vested interests as owner and publisher of the Texas Observer, the biweekly advocate of the neglected and voiceless.


Clifford McKenzie (Government): Whistleblower, who sought redress of grievances after a retaliatory dismissal from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for exposing the misuse of government travel funds and property.


Jack C. Landau (Education): For championing the First Amendment and the free flow of information through the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and for publishing The News Media and the Law.


1985 Judges


  • Burton Joseph, Attorney at Law, Barsy, Joseph & Lichtenstein; Chairman, Media Coalition.

  • Harriet Pilpel, Attorney at Law, Weil, Gotshal and Manges; General Counsel, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

  • Melody Sands, Former owner, the Athens News.


1984 Winners

Helen and Forrest Troy (Outstanding Community Leadership): For continuing the muckraking tradition of the free press through their biweekly newspaper, the Oklahoma Observer, and for their selfless commitment to the rights of the disenfranchised.


Angus Mackenzie (Outstanding National Leadership): For exposing illegal espionage and harassment of the dissident press by U.S. governmental agencies.


Frank Wilkinson (Lifetime Achievement): For his continuing commitment to civil liberties, as founder of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.


1984 Judges


  • Martin Agronsky, Award-winning journalist and television talk-show host, Agronsky and Company.

  • Alan Dershowitz, Professor, Harvard Law School.

  • Liza Pike, Program Director, Center for Investigative Reporting


1983 Winners


Tom and Pat Gish (Outstanding Community Leadership): For their courage and determination in reestablishing freedom of the press in the face of open hostility, through their daily newspaper, the Mountain Eagle.


Mark Lynch (Outstanding National Leadership): For refusing to bow to the federal government's efforts, under the guise of national security, to limit First Amendment rights.


Osmond K. Fraenkel (Lifetime Achievement): For pioneering and lifelong dedication to civil liberties as a lawyer, author, teacher and inspirational leader in the fight for constitutional rights. 


1983 Judges


  • Harriet Pilpel, Attorney at Law, Weil, Gotshal and Manges; General counsel, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

  • Studs Terkel, Author and Nationally Syndicated Radio-Show Host.

  • William Worthy, International Journalist and Civil Liberties Activist 


1982 Winners


Franklyn S. Haiman (Book Publishing): For his book, Speech and Law in a Free Society, a distinguished, intellectual achievement that advances thought on complex First Amendment issues.


Melody Sands (Journalism): For her exemplary efforts, as the owner of the small and independent newspaper, the Athens News, to give meaning to the public's right to know.


Robert Berger; Herbert Brodkin; Ernest Kinoy; Herbert Wise (Arts and Entertainment): For producing a powerful dramatization of free-speech struggles in the television movie Skokie.


Steven Pico (Law): For his willingness to serve as the lead plaintiff in the critically important case Board of Education v. Pico and to speak out against book censorship.


Billie Pirner Garde (Government): For her courageous persistence in exposing the betrayal of the public trust by a federal executive, despite sexual harassment and other jeopardy to herself.


Gene D. Lanier (Education): For his contributions at the grassroots level to defeat censorship legislation and to support hundreds of librarians threatened by would-be censors.


Frank Snepp (Individual Conscience): For his great personal sacrifice in the cause of the public's right to know, through his book, Decent Interval, and his articulate defense of First Amendment freedoms.


Frank J. Donner (Lifetime Achievement): For a lifetime of dedication to the First Amendment as lawyer, scholar, author and unremitting foe of government political surveillance.


1982 Judges



1981 Winners


Frank Rowe (Book Publishing): For The Enemy Among Us: A Story of Witch-Hunting in the McCarthy Era, which described the devastating personal effect on his life brought about by his refusal to sign a loyalty oath in 1950.


Todd Crowder, Charles Reineke and William Hoffmann Jr. (Journalism): For their willingness to challenge high school officials and to resist peer pressure in order to defend the freedom of the student press.


Edward Asner, Allan Burns, Seth Freeman and Gene Reynolds (Arts and Entertainment): For their creative contributions to the television program, the Lou Grant Show.


William Schanen III (Law): As the persevering client in the Wisconsin civil suit that established that a commercial printer cannot be held liable for the contents of a publication he has printed unless he knows it to be libelous or defamatory.


Morton Halperin (Government): Director of the Center for National Security Studies, for his work defending public access to government information and protecting the privacy rights of citizens.


Kathy Russell (Education): Director of the Washington County Public Library, for her courage in preserving the independence of the library's collection and her resistance to attempts to censor books and reveal the identities of readers of certain books.


Stanley Fleishman (Lifetime Achievement): For expanding First Amendment rights and for appearing as counsel in some of the most important First Amendment cases of the last 25 years.


1981 Judges


  • Edward Brooke, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts.

  • Nat Hentoff, Author and Columnist, the Village Voice and 1980 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winner.

  • Fay Kanin, President, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

  • Judith Krug, Director, the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom.

  • Charles Nesson, Associate Dean, Harvard Law School


1980 Winners


Nat Hentoff (Book Publishing) for The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech.


Erwin Knoll and Howard Morland (Journalism): For their fight to publish, "The H-Bomb Secret: How We Got It, Why We're Telling It," in The Progressive Magazine.


Saul Landau and Jack Willis (Journalism): For their production of Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang, aired on the Public Broadcasting Service.


David Goldberger (Law): For his defense of the right of a neo-Nazi group to march in Skokie, Illinois.


Louis Clark: (Government): Director of the Government Accountability Project, for his support of government employees who dissent or blow the whistle on government corruption.


Carey McWilliams (Lifetime Achievement): For his longtime dedication, in the pages of The Nation and elsewhere, to defending the rights of migrant farm workers, Japanese-Americans, victims of McCarthyism and other persecuted people.


1980 Judges