First Amendment Luncheon

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About NEFAC’s First Amendment Luncheon

February 20, 2015
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Seaport Hotel
1 Seaport Lane
Boston, MA

Purchase Tickets (Not Available)

Official Invitation

Luncheon Program

Award Application Materials (Closed)

#NEFAA2015 Twitter Archive (via Storify)

Featured Speakers 

  • 33:56 – 59:24 | Judge Nancy Gertner (retired), recipient of the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award. Introduction by NEFAC’s Robert Bertsche.
  • 18:01 – 32:48 | John and Diane Foley, accepting the Freedom of Information Award on behalf of their son, James. Introduction by David Case, managing editor at GlobalPost.
  • 05:15 – 14:20 |  Harriet Cady, recipient of the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award. Introduction by NEFAC’s Robert Bertsche.

Video by Audrey Adam, Courtesy the NENPA Bulletin

Photos by Julia Aparicio, Courtesy the NENPA Bulletin

2015 New England First Amendment Awards News and Press Coverage

2015 Award Recipients

  • Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award | Nancy Gertner, Retired Federal Judge



Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner is an advocate for cameras in the courtroom, and such a proponent of the press that she risked recusal to speak to the media about her cases.

In 2000, Gertner testified about the need for more transparency in federal courts, saying that the concept of a public proceeding necessitates a courtroom open to television cameras. She also expressed support for courtroom cameras during a 2007 hearing. Judge Gertner even used the press to speak publicly about her cases — rarely done by active judges — and to provide another level of transparency within the judicial system. She did this though it carried great professional risk, in one case leading to calls for her recusal.

“For First Amendment and right-to-know advocates throughout New England, these are actions worth celebrating,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Judge Gertner has been a long-time advocate of civil rights and has been a friend of the press. In previous years, we have honored the work of three journalists and a media executive. While Judge Gertner’s legal background may distinguish her from previous honorees, her First Amendment bona fides certainly put her in the same class.”

  • Freedom of Information Award | James Foley, Journalist (posthumously)

James Foley, Aleppo, Syria - 07/12. Photo: Nicole Tung. Authorized use: alongside article on James Foley's kidnapping in Syria only.


A seasoned war correspondent, New Hampshire native James Foley committed himself to the truth and, in his words, “exposing untold stories.” While working in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, Foley reported on the lives of those disadvantaged and suffering. His barbaric death last August reminded the nation of the dangers of his craft and the threats against freedom of information.

“Foley reported difficult stories and wrote about those most effected by war, despite the incredible risks to his safety,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Ultimately, he made the greatest sacrifice in pursuit of these stories and we are honored to have the opportunity to recognize Foley’s life work. It certainly reflects the principles of the First Amendment and the importance of an informed public.”

Donations to the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation can be made here.

  • Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award | Harriet Cady, Open Government Advocate



Harriet Cady is a frequent speaker on freedom of information concerns and recently helped to create the watchdog group Right to Know New Hampshire. The group advocates for the state’s freedom of information law and Article 8 of the state constitution, which protects public access to government meetings and records.

“Every year, there are attempts made to make it harder, or too expensive, for residents to see what government is doing,” she told the Union Leader last year. “It irritates me beyond belief. It’s a fight I’m always ready for.”

Cady has been an advocate for transparency and FOI concerns for more than 40 years. Her persistence and lengthy track-record separate her from other award nominees this year, said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director.