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Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Honors Stevens

Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Honors Stevens

Hugh Stevens was honored Jan. 29 as the 2015 recipient of the John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award.

The award was presented at the section’s annual meeting and CLE at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary.

Stevens is nationally known for his work as a First Amendment lawyer. He served more than 20 years as general counsel for the North Carolina Press Association, attaining the designation of counsel emeritus upon his retirement in 2002.

The NCPA honored Stevens in 2003 for his defense of the First Amendment by selecting him to receive the W.C. Lassiter Award. He is also a member of the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.

Stevens chaired the Constitutional Rights & Responsibilities Section in 1999-2000. He is a founding board member and past president of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition.

He practices in Raleigh with Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych.

The John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award honors a person who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the ideals embodied in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of North Carolina by the following: (a) Promoted the awareness and understanding on the part of the profession, the public, and/or public officials of the rights embodied in the Constitution of the United States and/or the Constitution of North Carolina; (b) Encouraged respect for the American constitutional system and the rule of law; and (c) Helped forward the discussion and debate of constitutional issues by the public and/or the profession.

The late John McNeill Smith Jr., who died in 2011, was the founding chair of the NCBA’s Constitutional Rights & Responsibilities Section, serving from 1995-97.

Previous recipients of the John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award are Dean John Charles “Jack” Boger (2007), John L. Sanders (2008), Justice James G. Exum Jr. (2009), Bertha “B” Merrill Holt (2010), Justice Willis P. Whichard (2011), Justice Paul M. Newby (2012), Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. (2013) and Justice Robert F. Orr (2014).