Shawn Regan Chairs Federal Bar Council Law Day Dinner Honoring Justice Clarence Thomas

Time 2 Minute Read
May 12, 2015

Hunton & Williams partner Shawn Regan led more than 900 Second Circuit lawyers and judges as chair of the Federal Bar Council’s annual Law Day Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on May, 5, 2015.

In his remarks celebrating the rule of law, Regan honored the nearly 75 federal judges present and paid particular tribute to the recipient of the FBC’s Learned Hand Medal that evening, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He spoke of “the value of having a federal judiciary, including Supreme Court, whose members reflect the diversity of the American Experience.” Regan noted that Justice Thomas “grew up in a level of rural poverty, deprivation and isolation that is incomprehensible to almost all here …. [But] with tough love from individual teachers, mentors and most of all his grandparents, Clarence Thomas forged an iron will to overcome and to live a distinctly American Dream.” He observed that Justice Thomas’s “jurisprudence reflects the richness and wisdom of his American experience.” Regan described Justice Thomas’s writings as “principled, disciplined, deeply researched and always imbued with a deep respect for his colleagues. They bear witness to a trait that may be too rare in our profession: humility. Not just humility of manner, interacting with colleagues, but humility of intellect…what Learned Hand described in his speech, The Spirit of Liberty, as ‘the spirit that is not too sure it is right.’"

Regan also recognized the newest federal judge in the Second Circuit, EDNY Judge Joan Azrack, who read the President’s Law Day Proclamation. Though appointed in December 2014, Judge Azrack “has been a prominent part of the EDNY for much longer” including service as an EDNY Magistrate Judge and leadership roles in the EDNY United States Attorney’s Office. He described Judge Azrack as "a woman of impeccable credentials, incredible intellect, and ... fair-minded judgment." And he noted that, when asked during the Senate confirmation process what single attribute is most important for a judge, Judge Azrack had responded "the most important attribute of a district judge is a commitment to the rule of law."

The Federal Bar Council is dedicated to promoting excellence in federal practice and rendering service to the courts within the Second Circuit. Recent past Chairs of the Law Day Dinner have included other leading Second Circuit practitioners and prominent public officials. More information about the event is available here.

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