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Bar Honors 7 Judges at Judicial Reception; Philip Fornaci Receives Scoutt Prize

April 26, 2018

Photo Credit: Patrice Gilbert Photography
D.C. Superior Court Judges (from left) Gregory Jackson, Wendell P. Gardner Jr., and Brian Holeman, and D.C. Superior Court Clerk James D. McGinley were among those in attendance at the D.C. Bar’s 2018 Judicial Reception on April 19.

On April 19 the D.C. Bar hosted its 2018 Judicial Reception at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, drawing together members of the legal community to honor D.C. and federal judges who have retired, resigned, or taken senior status in the past year.

D.C. Bar President Patrick McGlone opened the ceremony by affirming the “importance of civil service” and the work of the judiciary at a time when its independence is “under assault.”

The judges who received special recognition this year were D.C. Superior Court Judges Zoe Bush, Russell F. Canan, Gregory Jackson, Aida Melendez, Thomas J. Motley, and Frederick J. Sullivan, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Judges Jackson, Motley, and Sullivan were in attendance to receive their awards, presented to them by McGlone.

Also at the reception, the D.C. Bar Foundation awarded its 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize to Philip Fornaci, project director of the D.C. Prisoners’ Project with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The Scoutt Prize recognizes a full-time legal services lawyer who has demonstrated a career-long compassionate concern for his or her clients while exhibiting a high degree of skill representing them. The prestigious annual award was established by the firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger LLP to honor the public interest commitment of one of its founding partners, Jerrold Scoutt Jr.

Fornaci was introduced at the reception by prisoners’ rights advocate Louis Sawyer, who spoke of Fornaci’s dedication to improving the lives of prisoners. “He provides for the least, the last, and the lost,” Sawyer said.

In accepting the award, Fornaci noted the irony that he was receiving it in the Ronald Reagan Building. “Ronald Reagan is why I went to law school,” Fornaci said.

During the AIDs epidemic of the 1980s, Fornaci became an activist, which eventually led him to his work with incarcerated populations. He spoke of the AIDS activism slogan “Silence = Death,” and encouraged the audience to “fight with all our might” against current injustices.

“Silence is not a virtue,” said Fornaci. “‘Silence = Death’ is as relevant now as it was 30 years ago.”