Grandson of the late David Carliner, Jacob Remes, introduced the 2017 Davide Carliner Public Interest Award winner, Becca Heller. Heller, an attorney for the International Refugee Assistance Project, led the charge of attorneys who flooded airports in response to President Trump's Muslim Ban.
On June 11, the American Constitution Society hosted the first day of its 2015 National Convention. ACS President Caroline Fredrickson provided a welcome address, and Zachary Norris of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights accepted the David Carliner Award.
The American Constitution Society's David Carliner Public Interest Award was established in memory of one of the great public interest lawyers of the 20th Century, David Carliner (1918-2007), a champion of justice in his native Washington, D.C. and on the national stage. A tireless, innovative litigator, he also played a leading role in building institutions devoted to protecting civil and human rights and combating injustice on a systemic basis. A pioneering immigration lawyer, an ardent foe of Jim Crow, and a leading champion of full political rights for citizens of the District of Columbia, he also was the founding chair of the American Civil Liberties Union-National Capital Area and the International Human Rights Law Group (now GlobalRights). The Award recognizes outstanding public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies its namesake’s legacy of fearless, uncompromising and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.
The 2014 recipient was Peter J. Wagner, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Prison Policy Initiative.
Wagner co-founded Prison Policy Initiative in 2001 and has helped grow it to a nationally recognized think tank that highlights the pervasive impact that mass incarceration in the U.S. can have on the economy, the electoral process and even interpersonal relationships. Among its numerous achievements, Prison Policy Initiative has led the charge against prison gerrymandering, working with states such as Maryland to end the practice that gives outsized political clout to legislative districts that contain prisons. Wagner has also served as an Instructor at Smith College, teaching courses on constitutional law and the prison industrial complex. In 2013, he was given the Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers