Boalt Honors Talented Trio
Citation Award dinner honorees with Interim Dean Gillian Lester (third from left): Roxanna Altholz ’99, Theodore Olson ’65, and Pamela Samuelson
hile their backgrounds and legal interests vary greatly, common bonds were evident among the trio honored at Boalt’s festive Citation Award dinner in San Francisco on March 13. “Each recipient embodies ideals that help distinguish our law school community,” Interim Dean Gillian Lester said of litigator Theodore Olson ’65, Professor Pamela Samuelson, and Assistant Clinical Professor Roxanna Altholz ’99. “Exceptional legal acumen, vigilant attention to detail, and a deep commitment to protecting fundamental rights.” Olson won the Citation Award, the law school’s highest honor. Samuelson won the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award, and Altholz the Young Alumni Award. One of the nation’s most accomplished trial lawyers, Olson led landmark litigation against Proposition 8, California’s 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. The
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measure was declared unconstitutional—a ruling later upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In 2010, Time magazine named Olson one of the world’s 100 most influential people. National Public Radio once described the longtime conservative as “gay marriage’s unlikely warrior.” Olson called the right to marry “a matter of human rights.” He tried the case with David Boies—his opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that resolved the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush, Olson’s client. A partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., Olson has argued 60 cases before the Supreme Court. As U.S. solicitor general under Bush from 2001 to 2004, he won 20 of the 23 cases he argued before the Court. The late New York Times columnist William Safire described Olson as his generation’s “most persuasive advocate before the Supreme Court” and its “most effective solicitor general.” Olson thanked Boalt professor and former Dean Jesse Choper for a glowing introduction, noting that his 93-year-old mother “will like hearing that very much, though she’ll probably have a rebuttal.” Olson hailed Boalt’s “fantastic intellectual energy” and said it offers “the finest people in the world in their fields.” A pioneer in digital copyright law, intellectual property, cyberlaw, and information policy, Samuelson has taught at Boalt since 1996. She is a director of the school’s Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, and founded its Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic—the first clinic of its kind. She was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences last year. Samuelson also leads the Copyright Principles Project, assembling top experts for a multiyear effort aimed at advancing copyright law amid rapid technological change.
Theodore Olson ’65, Pamela Samuelson, Roxanna Altholz ’99 feted at this year’s Citation Award dinner