Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007
Legislator of the Year Michael A. Costello, State Representative from Newburyport, gets a pat on the back from his mother before accepting his award.
Several hundred members of the legal community attend MBA Gala Dinner
White praises Gala Dinner keynote speaker Clarke, Legislator of the Year Costello for their defense of constitutional rights
More than 700 attorneys, MBA members and guests attended the MBA's Gala Dinner at Boston's InterContinental Hotel on Nov. 1. The MBA thanks the Gala Dinner Committee, along with the individuals, organizations and law firms that purchased tables for the dinner. As a result of our members' efforts and dedication, the tables at the dinner have been sold out. To view the full list of table sponsors, click here.
MBA Gala Dinner keynote speaker Richard A. Clarke, the nation’s former counterterrorism chief, delivered an urgent call for a return to the rule of law in the wake of weakened civil liberties in the name of the War on Terror.
MBA President David W. White Jr. set the stage for Clarke’s speech in his introduction.
“Six years ago, we were all a little more innocent, and life seemed a lot more secure,” White said. “I’ll confess, in the anger and outrage that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon, I thought maybe I should be willing to surrender a little bit of my freedom if it meant my children would be a little safer.”
But as the United States turned its attention to invading Iraq, White said, the government undertook extraordinary policy changes, including labeling captured enemies as “enemy combatants” and holding them indefinitely, without charge and limited or no access to lawyers or the courts.
“We became lawyers not just to make a living, but to uphold broader principles of the law,” White said. “Our founders recognized, in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, that these rights are not given to us – we have them innately: they belong to us.”
“Richard Clarke is here tonight because he recognizes, and I am quoting from his book, “That we must… defend the Constitution against those who would use the terrorist threat to assault the liberties the Constitution enshrines.”
White also presented the MBA Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Michael A. Costello, D-Newburyport.
“Rep. Costello is proud to be a lawyer, and prouder still to serve his constituents,” White said. “He has had an unfailing commitment to the needs of the judiciary and a keen interest in the concerns of practicing lawyers. In particular, Rep. Costello has vigorously fought for adequate funding for our court system. He has also been active in the recent fight to attain rate increases for bar advocates, public defenders and district attorneys, and he has joined with us in opposing reinstatement of capital punishment.”
White described how Costello has been a leader in the fight for reforming mandatory minimum sentencing, post-incarceration supervision, Criminal Offender Record Information laws and prison inmate training programs.
“Perhaps the most vital role Rep. Costello plays in the Legislature is that of defender of the Constitution. He is often a lone voice of reason when the Legislature is discussing bills that, while perhaps well-intentioned, have the potential to diminish our constitutional rights.”