On May 6, the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) celebrated their 41st anniversary with their annual Justice Louis Scolnik Award Dinner. Each year at the dinner, the MCLU honors an outstanding member of Maine’s legal community. This year’s event celebrated James E. Mitchell for his “commitment to the vitality of the Constitution.”
The MCLU was founded in 1968 with the purpose of advancing and preserving the civil liberties of Maine residents. The organization is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose mission is to assure that the Bill of Rights is preserved for people of all races, colors, and backgrounds.
Through litigation, advocacy, public education, and lobbying, the MCLU works for the following basic principles:
- The right of free expression.
- The right to dissent.
- The right to religious freedom.
- The right to equal treatment for all people.
- The right to fair play in encounters with government.
- The right to be let alone, to be secure from interference in private matters.
Founded in 1920, the ACLU now has a nationwide network of over 300 affiliate offices. With a staff of over 60 attorneys collaborating with nearly 2,000 volunteer attorneys, the ACLU is the largest public interest firm in the country and appears before the U.S. Supreme Court more than any other organization except the U.S. Department of Justice. Nearly ninety years after being formed to protect the civil liberties of America, the ACLU defends one’s right to express his or her view in nearly 6,000 cases annually.
Now in its 41st year, the MCLU continues to fight for equality and justice in Maine. Representing victims whose civil liberties have been violated by government, helping educate students and organizing events in local communities, and advocating both state and federal legislature, are part of the goodwill the MCLU contributes to society. Coincidentally, on the day of the 2009 Scolnik Dinner, Governor Baldacci signed into law the end of a ban on gay marriage in Maine. Something the MCLU lobbied long and hard for, and is very proud of.
And like the MCLU, that has been working on behalf of Mainers for over 40 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has been protecting the rights of Maine’s injured and disabled for nearly 35 years. Supporting the MCLU is a WIN-WIN situation, and for that we are forever grateful. We would like to thank the MCLU for their outstanding work throughout the great state of Maine, and congratulate its 2009 Justice Louis Scolnik Award Dinner honoree, James E. Mitchell.
For more information on the MCLU and its annual Justice Louis Scolnik Award Dinner, please visit: www.mclu.org.
“The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.”
- U.S. Supreme Court, Justice William O. Douglas