Steptoe & Johnson LLP partner David Bodney has received the “Torch of Liberty Award” from the Arizona region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Mr. Bodney was presented with the award at a gala celebrating the organization’s centennial held October 24 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

The “Torch of Liberty Award” was established to recognize individuals who have exhibited extraordinary humanitarian concerns, and whose everyday actions exemplify the principles on which the ADL was founded.  The league honors those who have shown, through business and community involvements, a personal commitment to bring together people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds in the fight against bigotry and discrimination.  Previous recipients include US Senator John McCain and former Arizona governor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“In every sense of the word, David is a true leader,” said Miriam Weisman, ADL Arizona regional board chair, and Bill Strauss, ADL regional director, in a joint statement.  “We in the ADL, and all Arizonans for that matter, have been lucky to have benefitted from his sense of justice and his ceaseless endeavors to make this a better place to live.”

Denise Resnik, co-chair of the dinner, added:  “David is a defender of your speech and mine.  He is an advocate for children, a trusted representative for those without a voice or a vote, and a trusted leader of leaders.  It is a privilege to honor him.”

At Steptoe, Mr. Bodney practices media and constitutional law, intellectual property and Native American law, and government relations.  He serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Mr. Bodney is chair-elect of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law and serves on the editorial advisory board of Communications Lawyer.  He is a past chairman of the board of the ADL (Arizona Region), and serves as an ADL national commissioner and a member of its National Civil Rights Committee.  He also serves as a national director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and has overseen its “Election Protection” efforts in Arizona.

“I am deeply honored to receive the ADL’s ‘Torch of Liberty’ award, especially as part of its 100th anniversary celebration,” said Mr. Bodney.  “For as much as the organization has accomplished to stop bigotry and hate in our midst over the past century, there is still much work to do.  ADL has shown me the importance of standing up to hate speech, whether it occurs in cyberspace or at the kitchen table.  History shows that when good people speak up, evil seldom takes root.”

In 2011, Mr. Bodney received the APS Peacemaker Award from Valle del Sol, a non-profit organization in Arizona.  In 2008, he received the Judge Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee for community service.