Paul M. Smith, who has argued 14 cases before the United States Supreme Court, will speak at the West Virginia University College of Law Monday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Smith’s lecture, “Gay Rights in the Supreme Court from Lawrence to Perry,” is sponsored by OUTlaw, the College of Law’s gay-straight student organization.

In 2003, Smith argued the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas that, in effect, made same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. It had been illegal in 14 states. Smith’s most recent Supreme Court case was 2011’s Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. It upheld the First Amendment as applied to video games.

The National Law Journal named Smith one of the 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Past Decade in 2010. That year, he also received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the America Bar Association for his work promoting civil rights and civil liberties.

Smith is a partner in Jenner & Block’s Washington, D.C., office. He is chair of the firm’s Appellate & Supreme Court Practice and co-chair of the firm’s Election Law and First Amendment Practices. Additionally, Smith represents various clients in trial and appellate cases involving commercial issues, the First Amendment, intellectual property, civil rights and election law.

A graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School, Smith clerked for Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. He is a member of the ABA House of Delegates. He is also a member and former chair of the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society.

Smith will be introduced at his lecture by attorney Stephen Skinner, a 1994 WVU College of Law graduate and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Skinner is the founder of Fairness West Virginia, a statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians. He is also the first openly gay member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

OUTlaw is a gay rights student organization at the WVU College of Law that fosters open communication and networking between gay and straight communities.



Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

CONTACT: James Jolly, College of Law