VII. They Were Here
In 1928, William Howard Taft, the former U.S. President, and Benjamin N. Cardozo, who would join the Supreme Court four years later, received Honorary Membership in the Association. (A City Bar rule states that one can only receive the honor in person.) In the following decades, other towering legal figures would visit the City Bar for the same purpose or to receive other Association honors, or to deliver Association lectures, including one named after Justice Cardozo, or, as in the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965, at the invitation of one of the Association’s committees.
1928
William Howard Taft, 27th U.S. President, and Benjamin N. Cardozo, Supreme Court Justice, receive Honorary Membership.
1933
The House of the Association is the venue for the Southern District of New York’s obscenity case regarding James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the book was not obscene.
1947
Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter gives the Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture.
1949
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas gives the Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture.
1963
Chief Justice Earl Warren, in accepting Honorary Membership in the City Bar, says, “There is no Bar Association I know in this country or any other that has contributed more to legal history or the jurisprudence of our country than this great Association.”
1965
On April 21, Dr. Martin Luther King addresses an overflow crowd in the Great Hall of the Association, nearly a year after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and three months before the signing of the Voting Rights Act. “Standing before you in the House of this Association, whose very cornerstone is an abiding respect for the law, I am impelled to wonder who is better qualified to demand an end to this debilitating lawlessness, to better understand the mortal danger to the very fabric of our democracy when human rights are flaunted.”
Dr. Martin Luther King
1973
Thurgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, receives Honorary Membership.
1985
Potter Stewart, Supreme Court Justice, receives Honorary Membership.
1993

Harry A. Blackmun, Supreme Court Justice, receives Honorary Membership.

Cyrus R. Vance, Sr., Secretary of State, receives Honorary Membership.

Inaugural Henry L. Stimson Medal, honoring outstanding U.S. Attorneys in the Southern District and Eastern District of New York, is awarded to James Comey and Alan Vinegrad.

Harry A. Blackmun
2012

Nina Totenberg gives the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture on Women and the Law.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is a keynote speaker at the first White Collar Crime Institute.

2015
Gloria Steinem gives the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture on Women and the Law.
2016

Sally Yates, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General, gives a keynote address at the White Collar Crime Institute. U.S. Attorney for the E.D.N.Y. Robert L. Capers gives the other keynote.

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor are featured in the inaugural event of the Barbara Paul Robinson Series.

2018
Loretta Lynch receives Honorary Membership.
1932
Charles Evan Hughes and Harlan F. Stone, Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, receive Honorary Membership.
1934
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President, receives Honorary Membership.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President
1964
John Marshall Harlan, Supreme Court Justice, receives Honorary Membership.
1970
Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, receives Honorary Membership.
1971
The Knapp Commission on police corruption holds hearings at the City Bar.
1973
John Lennon, along with Yoko Ono and his lawyer, Leon Wildes, hold a press conference at the City Bar to announce his diplomatic immunity from deportation as ambassador for Nutopia, “a new conceptual country with no laws other than the cosmic,” to counter the plan by President Nixon and FBI Director Hoover to have Lennon’s visa terminated as a “strategic countermeasure” to his increasingly vocal criticism of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia.
John Lennon
1978
Former Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. gives the Orison S. Marden lecture.
1987
William J. Brennan, Jr., Supreme Court Justice, receives Honorary Membership and gives the Benjamin N. Cardozo lecture.
1994
The Mollen Commission on police corruption holds hearings at the City Bar.
1999
William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, receives Honorary Membership.
2001

The Association hosts the first-ever conference of the leaders of world city bars, with remarks by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Madeleine K. Albright gives the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lecture on Women and the Law.

2010
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor delivers the Arps Lecture.
2014

James Comey and Mary Jo White give keynote addresses at the White Collar Crime Institute.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan gives the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture on Women and the Law.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan
2017
Bill Moyers screens his documentary Rikers: An American Jail.
2019
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor receives the Association Medal and has her portrait unveiled.