On Sept. 16, Warren Binford, professor of law and director of the Clinical Law Program, will be honored with the Justice Hans A. Linde Award by the Oregon chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS). Alum Jackie Sandmeyer, founder and principal of TIX Education Specialist, LLC, will also receive the Rising Star Award. Both awards honor Oregonians who promote and embody ACS values and will be presented at the ACS Annual Dinner virtual fundraiser on Sept. 16.
The Justice Hans A. Linde Award was established in 2006, and its namesake was its first recipient. Justice Hans A. Linde served on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1977 to 1990. After his career on the bench, he was a distinguished scholar in residence at Willamette Law (previously, he was a professor of law at the University of Oregon). He also spent time as a visiting law professor at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA and NYU while lecturing both domestically and abroad. Justice Linde was one of the most influential state court judges in the country, with numerous law reviews highlighting his ground-breaking work on state constitutional interpretation. He passed away on Sept. 7.
The ACS will memorialize Justice Linde and Judge David Schuman, the 2017 Hans A. Linde Award recipient, at the event. Other notable recipients of the award are Hon. Rocky Barilla (2019), a former representative in the Oregon House and author of Oregon's sanctuary law; Jennifer Middleton (2018), partner at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton and co-lead counsel on the 2014 right-to-marry for same-sex couples case; Julie Stevens (2016), longtime advocate at Legal Aid Services of Oregon; D. Michael Dale (2015), longtime worker advocate, founder and Executive Director of Northwest Workers' Justice Project; Barbara Roberts (2013), former governor; and Steven Wax (2013), legal director of the Oregon Innocence Project and former federal public defender for the District of Oregon.
This year’s recipient, Warren Binford, is an internationally recognized children’s rights scholar and advocate. Binford was selected to receive the Hans A. Linde Award in large part because of her outstanding public interest work. Shelby Smith, JD’18, ACS Oregon lawyer chapter board member and staff attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oregon, commented, “This year we selected Professor Binford in recognition of her extensive work in Oregon and nationally with children, her tireless advocacy on behalf of children and families at the border, and her efforts to elevate and amplify the voices of the most vulnerable.”
For Binford, the award is personally significant. “Hans Linde was one of the first people to reach out and welcome me when I arrived in Oregon in 2005,” Binford said. “He became a mentor and an inspiration for both his intellectual and moral courage. To be honored with the award that was created in his name is incredibly humbling, especially in such a tumultuous time when so many attorneys are fighting so hard on so many fronts to defend democracy and the rights of so many.”
Brian Gallini, dean of the Willamette University College of Law, added, “It’s rewarding to see Professor Binford’s work honored. Her efforts represent the best of our Willamette community and I applaud the American Constitution Society for selecting her to receive this award.” Binford will be introduced for the Hans A. Linde award by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Former U.S. Senator Russell Feingold will provide opening remarks, and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will present the keynote address.
The Rising Star Award, which was established in 2019, will be presented to Jackie Sandmeyer. The award recognizes legal advocates who make dynamic contributions to the law and the lives of people in Oregon and beyond during their first five to ten years of practice. Shelby Smith said Sandmeyer is being “recognized for extensive and innovative work helping to shape the conversation around sexual harassment and assault in the wake of #metoo, by consulting with the Oregon Legislature, as well as K-12 and higher education institutions around Title IX and state sexual harassment and assault laws.” Previous recipients of this award include Nadia Dahab, senior staff attorney at Innovation Law Lab, and Leland Baxter-Neal, staff attorney at the ACLU of Oregon, for their work on behalf of immigrants held in detention at the Sheridan facility in eastern Oregon. Sandmeyer will be introduced by Michele Ronald-Schwartz, Executive Director of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Taskforce.
ACS was founded in 2001 to promote the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its fundamental values, including individual rights and freedoms, access to justice, genuine equality, democracy, and the rule of law. It believes that the rule of law should be a force to improve the lives of all people and works to bring together leaders, lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers who are committed to making a difference in the legal, public policy and constitutional debates that shape our democracy.
About Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University College of Law was the first law school to open in the Pacific Northwest. Building on deep historic roots, we focus with pride on educating the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Supreme Court, cannot be matched in the region. Our thought-leading scholars advance and promote our shared responsibility to make a difference in society, placing justice, fairness, and equality at the heart of everything we do.
The College of Law produces the best problem solvers, community leaders, legal dealmakers, and changemakers in the most innovative region of the country. We have had several years of remarkable growth in academic achievement, as our bar passage rates and employment outcomes reflect. We also consistently have the highest graduate employment rates among all Oregon law schools, and are among the best on the entire West Coast.
We are a dynamic force within our university’s vision of an “Only at Willamette” education and have worked to develop one of the most forward-thinking and creative legal education programs in the country. Our student-centric approach manifests in the robust experiential learning opportunities we provide alongside curricular strengths in public service, business law, advocacy, international law, and health law.