First Amendment Defender Award
This award is presented to an individual or organization who takes a public stand in support of press freedom.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
At a time when press freedoms and access has been under attack, Sen. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut has stood tall for the rights of journalists to do their jobs and inform the public.
Originally sworn in on January 5, 2011, Richard Blumenthal is serving his second term as a United States Senator from the State of Connecticut.
Senator Blumenthal served an unprecedented five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General, fighting for people against large and powerful special interests. His aggressive law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights, and personal privacy has helped reshape the role of state attorneys general nationwide, and resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars for Connecticut taxpayers and consumers each year.
A key player in the national fight against Big Tobacco, he helped bring an end to deceptive marketing aimed at children – a victory significantly lowering youth smoking rates, and compelling a multi-billion dollar settlement for Connecticut taxpayers. He also helped lead a coalition of all 50 states that culminated in historic agreements with social networking sites to better protect children from Internet predators.
As Attorney General, he advocated for reforms in the health insurance industry to assure critical health care coverage and lower pharmaceutical drug prices. He has worked relentlessly to eradicate corruption in state government and make state contracting accountable, fair, honest, and transparent.
His vigorous investigation and legal action against insurance industry abuses has successfully forced financial restitution and reform, compelled greater disclosure by insurers and brokers to consumers, and recovered millions of dollars for the state, municipalities, and individuals. He has successfully fought unfair utility rate charges, air pollution causing acid rain, general environmental wrongdoing, as well as a wide array of consumer scams and frauds.
Senator Blumenthal has personally argued several major cases in court, including his successful effort to uphold the Connecticut sex offender registry in the Supreme Court. He has fought and sued the federal government for failing to follow or enforce environmental laws and energy statutes, as well as imposing multimillion dollar unfunded mandates on local taxpayers under the No Child Left Behind Act.
From 1977 to 1981, Senator Blumenthal served as a U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, prosecuting drug trafficking, organized and white collar crime, civil rights violations, consumer fraud, and environmental pollution. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987, and the Connecticut State Senate from 1987 to 1990. As a volunteer attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Senator Blumenthal saved the life of an innocent, wrongly convicted death row inmate who came within hours of execution.
Prior to his position as U.S. Attorney, Senator Blumenthal also served as Administrative Assistant to U.S. Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, aide to former U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was Assistant to the President of the United States, and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
Senator Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude), and Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. From 1970 to 1976 he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
Senator Blumenthal lives in Connecticut with his wife, Cynthia, and their four children.
First Amendment Defender Award
Updated on 2020-01-13T12:49:45+00:00, by .