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John McKay honored by American Jewish Committee

September 21, 2012

Professor from Practice John McKay received the American Jewish Committee's Judge Learned Hand Award, which honors leaders in the legal profession who embody the vital importance of individual rights and democratic values for an orderly society.

John McKay"John McKay is a person for whom being fair and just to all people is more than words, more even than actions. It's how he lives and breathes," said Judge Don Horowitz (ret.)

McKay, a former United States attorney for Western Washington, teaches National Security Law and Constitutional Law of Terrorism at the law school and serves as associate director of the Externship Program.

He was President of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), established by Congress as a national, private, nonprofit corporation to ensure equal access to justice under the law for low-income Americans. John has taken on leadership responsibilities with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA).  He has been a member of both the ABA Board of Governors and its House of Delegates, and has served on WSBA task forces on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession and on Governance.

In 1995, the WSBA named him Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, and in 2001 he received the Association's Award of Merit, its highest honor. In 2007 he received the WSBA's Courageous Award. In 2008, John along with his brother Mike was awarded the prestigious Charles A. Goldmark Award for Distinguished Service by the Legal Foundation of Washington.

"We are very pleased to be presenting John with this important award," said Wendy Rosen, Regional Director of AJC Seattle.  "AJC has chosen to honor John for his exemplary career and a life characterized by his deep and active commitment to the fundamental principles of the United States Constitution. In accepting this tribute, John echoes and affirms AJC's commitment to advancing democratic values across America and around the world."   

Read McKay's remarks about working for justice from the award luncheon.