American Foundation for Equal Rights

David Boies & Theodore B. Olson Accept Top Legal Honor by American Bar Association


Elizabeth Riel 323.892.2081 or
Brandon Hersh 202.412.9766 or

Legal ‘Dream Team’ Back in Court on September 6 on Issue of Standing

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ (AFER) lead attorneys, David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, were honored with the most prestigious award in the American legal realm, the American Bar Association Medal.

AFER brought these two highly-respected attorneys together in 2009 for the federal case against Proposition 8 (Perry v. Schwarzenegger), which placed a ban on marriage for gay and lesbian Californians.  AFER, Olson and Boies achieved an unprecedented victory for marriage equality on August 4, 2010, when a U.S. District Court concluded that, “Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis.”

In accepting the honor, David Boies reflected on his role in Perry v Schwarzenegger and noted, “What we’ve been able to accomplish is based on the contributions of so many other people who made those contributions under much more difficult circumstances” and accepted the award on behalf of them.

AFER, Boies and Olson will be back in court on September 6 for oral arguments in front of the California Supreme Court on the question of whether under California law official proponents of a ballot initiative have an interest in defending the initiative when it is challenged in court.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit deemed the question essential to its determination as to whether the official proponents of Proposition 8 have standing to appeal Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s ruling from last summer.

In a separate hearing on August 29, AFER will go before the U.S. District Court to ask that the videotape of the District Court trial be released so that the public can see what happened at trial.  Prop. 8 proponents have repeatedly tried to shield the tapes from the public.

Boies is the founder and chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. One of the nation’s preeminent trial lawyers, Boies was recently named “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal and “Commercial Litigator of the Year” by Who’s Who.  Olson is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s D.C. office and is one of the nation’s premier appellate and U.S. Supreme Court advocates. The National Law Journal has repeatedly listed him as one of America’s Most Influential Lawyers. Last year, TIME selected both Boies and Olson as two of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Among previous recipients of the ABA Medal are legendary justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William J. Brennan Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy.