CHICAGO — First Amendment attorney Michael A. Bamberger has been named the recipient of the 2012 Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Roll of Honor Award.
“For over 30 years, Michael Bamberger has been one of the unsung heroes of the fight to protect free speech in the United States,” said Roll of Honor Committee Chair Chris Finan. “As the general counsel of the Media Coalition, he has successfully challenged dozens of federal, state and local laws that attempted to censor material protected by the First Amendment, including books, magazines, recordings, movies, videos, videogames and the Internet.”
Bamberger is perhaps best known for the landmark case Hudnut v. American Booksellers Association, a challenge to an Indianapolis anti-pornography ordinance that outlawed “graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women, whether in pictures or in words,” presenting women as sex objects, or as enjoying pain, humiliation or servility. The law was inspired by Andrea Dworkin and framed as a matter of civil rights. FTRF filed amicus briefs in that case with the district court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1985, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ decisions to strike down the ordinance as unconstitutional.
In addition to his work at Media Coaltion and his position as partner at SNR Denton law firm, Bamberger serves as adjunct professor of law at Cardozo Law School and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is author of 2000’s "Reckless Legislation: How Lawmakers Ignore the Constitution."
The Roll of Honor award will be presented at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference during its Opening General Session from 4:00–5:15 p.m. on Friday, June 22, at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center.
The Roll of Honor was established in 1987 to recognize and honor those individuals who have contributed substantially to FTRF through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support.