The Sotomayor Award publicly acknowledges, recognizes and honors an individual or entity that has demonstrated a strong commitment, and has made a substantial contribution, to diversity and promoting full and equal participation and inclusion in the legal profession.
Judge Diaz served on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas from 1981 through 1993. He was the youngest judge elected to the court and the first Latino judge in Pennsylvania history. He also served as the city solicitor of Philadelphia and was appointed by President Clinton to be the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he focused on reforming public and mixed-use housing programs. He is also chair of Dilworth Paxson’s diversity committee.
Melber also writes about law and politics for MSNBC.com and other publications. Melber anchors and writes an MSNBC series on inequities in the criminal justice system, Presumed Guilty, and he is a guest host for MSNBC shows such as "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "All In with Chris Hayes."
Melber also is a correspondent for The Nation magazine, the oldest political weekly in America, a contributor to Reuters, and his writing has been published by many major media outlets.
Immediate-Past Chancellor William P. Fedullo will be honored at the event. He will be presented with a gold box, a replica of the one presented to Andrew Hamilton for his defense of John Peter Zenger in 1735. The gold box is presented annually to the immediate-past Chancellor and is inscribed with the message "acquired not by money, but by character."
Additionally, The Justinian Society and the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society Foundation will present the Lifetime Achievement Award in Memory of Marvin Comisky and Judge G. Fred DiBona to Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The award is presented to an outstanding member of the bench or bar who acts as a superb mentor and advisor to clients, the Bar, the judicial system and/or the community; makes a difference in the lives of others irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation; demonstrates a willingness to do what is right although sometimes unpopular; demonstrates legal acumen or scholarship; and exhibits great humility.
The March Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon begins at 12 p.m. at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, Broad and Walnut streets. Tickets are $65 for members; $55 for YLD members, public interest and government members; $25 for law student members; and $75 for non-members. Visit philadelphiabar.org to purchase tickets.