Dellinger to Receive Two Awards for Civil and Human Rights Advocacy

June 03, 2019


WASHINGTON, DC—June 3, 2019—O’Melveny partner Walter Dellinger will receive two prestigious awards this week for his civil rights and advocacy work. He will also lead a discussion with a panel of judges.

On Tuesday, Dellinger will be honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice at their annual Mississippi on the Potomac event for his work advancing civil and human rights. Dellinger, who began his legal career teaching Political and Civil Rights to one of the first integrated classes at the University of Mississippi Law School, is cited for being an “influential authority on appellate and Supreme Court jurisprudence and a committed contributor to a wave of social and generational change in Mississippi.” The Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law organization committed to advancing racial and economic justice.

On Wednesday, Dellinger will be presented with the Rex E. Lee Advocacy Award at the annual luncheon of the J. Ruben Clark Society. Rex Lee served as the Solicitor General of the United States, the founding dean of the J. Ruben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, and later as president of the university. The award “is presented to a distinguished advocate who has exemplified excellent and principled advocacy throughout his or her legal career.” US Senator Mitt Romney will give the keynote address at the luncheon.

In addition, Dellinger will lead a discussion on Saturday at the final plenary session at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society in Washington, DC. The topic is “Doing Theory/Doing Law: Practicing, Teaching, Governing, and Judging.” Dellinger will be joined by Judges Pamela Harris (Fourth Circuit), Sri Srinivasan (D.C. Circuit), and David Barron (First Circuit). Judges Srinivasan and Harris are former colleagues of Dellinger’s at O’Melveny and Judge Barron worked with him at the Department of Justice.

Dellinger is an influential authority on public law, lending his experience as a former head of the Office of Legal Counsel and acting Solicitor General and decades of legal knowledge to amicus briefs and numerous pro bono clients, as well as public and private companies. Dellinger has published articles on constitutional issues for scholarly journals including the Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Slate, New Republic, and London Times. A frequent commentator on major television networks, he holds the designation of the Douglas B. Maggs Emeritus Professor of Law at Duke University. Dellinger was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal and recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Lawyer.

Among his Supreme Court arguments at O’Melveny are his victories in Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, which established the constitutionality of using lawyers’ trust funds to provide financing for legal services, and Jackson v. Birmingham, recognizing the right of coaches and teachers to sue for retaliation under Title IX when fired for opposing unequal treatment of girls’ teams.

Dellinger helped convince the US Supreme Court that proponents of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, did not have standing to appeal a court order invalidating it. That ruling, Hollingsworth v. Perry, cleared the way for marriage equality in California and eventually nationwide.

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Christopher Rieck
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
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