ABA Silver Gavel Awards Honor Media Contributions that Broaden Understanding of Legal System
CHICAGO, July 24, 2008—The American Bar Association is presenting its 2008 Silver Gavel Awards to a select group that includes a best-selling author, a newspaper series, a documentary series and a television program on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The annual Silver Gavel Awards recognize exemplary contributions by media and the arts to foster Americans’ understanding of the law and the legal system.
The 2008 winners are:
- The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
- “Lawless Lands,” a series by the Denver Post about the failure of the justice system to investigate and prosecute serious crime on American Indian reservations
- The Supreme Court, a four-part PBS documentary by WNET New York
- Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, a television program by Nova/WGBH and Vulcan Productions that examined the federal court case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Six honorable mention award winners are: a second Denver Post series, “Trashing the Truth: The Hidden Story of Lost DNA”; Edward Humes’ Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion and the Battle for America’s Soul (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers), which also examined the Kitzmiller case; the documentary Hitler’s Courts: Betrayal of the Rule of Law in Nazi Germany produced by Touro Law Center (Central Islip, N.Y.) ; WMAR-TV’s (Baltimore) “Mortgage Meltdown” series, and “Death Penalty Editorials” from The Dallas Morning News.
ABA President William H. Neukom congratulated the winners for their outstanding work, “We commend you for your dedication to enhance the American public’s understanding of legal issues, our system of justice, and the rule of law.”
The Silver Gavel Awards have had a remarkably rich history over the past half century. Twelve Angry Men, Sidney Lumet’s classic jury room drama, was honored the first year the awards were presented. Other films from the “golden age” of courtroom drama—the late-1950s and early-1960s—winning Silver Gavels were Judgment at Nuremberg and To Kill a Mockingbird. The first Silver Gavel for Books was awarded in 1964 for Herbert Mitgang’s The Man Who Rode the Tiger: The Life and Times of Judge Samuel Seabury, a biography of the New York judge whose investigation led to the downfall of Tammany Hall Mayor Jimmy Walker in the 1930s.
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.