January 28, 2009


Judge Newman recognized for raising awareness about human rights and international law

NEW YORK - The New York State Bar Association's International Law Section has selected Hon. Jon O. Newman, Senior Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to receive the 2009 Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs. The award will be presented today during a luncheon at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan, as part of the State Bar's Annual Meeting.

Newman is the first sitting federal judge to receive the award in its 20-year history. He is being cited for his contributions to the jurisprudence of international human rights in the courts of the United States and the important role he has played in promoting the consciousness in the international legal community about the need to provide more effective remedies for egregious violations of international human rights law, highlighted by his 1996 proposal for the establishment of an international civil court.

"Our section is very pleased and privileged to honor Judge Newman for the contributions he, as a member of the Federal Court of Appeals that sits in our own state of New York, has made to the developing jurisprudence of international human rights law and procedure," said International Section Chair Michael Galligan of New York (Phillips Nizer LLP).

Galligan noted that Judge Newman was the author of the Second Circuit's seminal 1995 decision in Kadic v. Karadzic. In that case, the Court of Appeals, consistent with its landmark 1980 decision in Filartiga v. PeNa Irala, held that the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act affords civil remedies to victims of genocide, even when the perpetrators claim not to be acting under state authority. In 1996, he initiated a discussion about the reasoning and process behind the Karadzic decision. He pointed out the inherent limitations of national courts to serve as reliable forums of redressing violations of the law of international human rights and commended to the consideration of the international legal community a proposal for the establishment of an international civil court to complement the work of the international criminal court.

Widely regarded for his incisiveness and legal scholarship in copyright, procedural and many other areas of domestic as well as international law, Newman was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1979, serving as chief judge from 1993 through 1997. He has served as senior judge since 1997. Prior to his Court of Appeals appointment, Newman served as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Connecticut.

Judge Newman received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and earned his law degree from Yale Law School. Judge Newman was honored by a special edition of the New York Law School Law Review in 2002 and, in 2006, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Yale Law School , a group of his former law clerks and friends established the Judge Jon O. Newman Global Justice Lecture series at Yale Law School.

Previous recipients of the award include: The Lawyers and Judges of Pakistan, as represented by Aitzaz Ahsan; Gillian Martin Sorensen, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation; Lech Walesa, former president of Poland; Carlos Salinas de Gortari, former president of Mexico; Cyrus R. Vance, former U.S. secretary of state; Boutros-Boutros Ghali, former U.N. secretary general; the late Arthur C. Helton, director of Peace and Conflict Studies and senior fellow for Refugee Studies and Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Alice H. Henkin, director, Justice and Society program, The Aspen Institute.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.