NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation presented today the 33rd Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award to Senior Judge Ralph K. Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Devitt Award is the American judiciary's longest running and its highest honor that is bestowed upon an Article III federal judge. The award was created 35 years ago by Dwight D. Opperman, an iconic figure in the American legal community, when he was chairman and CEO of West Publishing Company, creators of WestLaw. He joins forces with then Chief Justice Warren Burger and named the award after the esteemed Judge Devitt who personified the award's ideal.
This year, five of the Supreme Court justices traveled to New York to the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse to honor Judge Winter on his turf. He was unable to travel, due to his battle with cancer, to the United States Supreme Court where the award is presented each year.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made the opening remarks on behalf of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who was unable to attend this year, followed by Dwight D. Opperman Foundation's chairman Julie C. Opperman, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan, as well as Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. More than 200 guests filled the courtroom for the ceremony and 100 invited guests enjoyed an elegant lunch at the building's library with spectacular views of the city.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan headed the two-term Devitt Selection Committee appointment by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. She was joined by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and by Judge Gary Feinerman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Justice Kagan has followed in the footsteps of every sitting justice since the Devitt Award's inception.
The Devitt Award is an event that is not open to the press, but on behalf of the committee, Justice Kagan said, "I have the privilege of naming Judge Ralph K. Winter as recipient of the 33rd Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. In addition to his more than 35 of service as a highly respected jurist, Judge Winter has made immense contributions in the fields of academia and judicial administration, and has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the improvement of society and the law. I join his many friends, family and colleagues in congratulating him on this richly deserved achievement."
Judge Winter replied, "I am deeply honored by having been chosen to receive the Devitt Award, named after a most distinguished jurist and sponsored by the Opperman Foundation, which has played a central role in enhancing American jurisprudence. My thanks to the Selection Committee for this most humbling award."
SOURCE The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation