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In an impassioned speech delivered at Saturday night’s GLAAD Media Awards in downtown Los Angeles, entertainment attorney Steve Warren — a regular fixture on The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Power Lawyers list — railed against conservative members of the Supreme Court, in particular Justice Antonin Scalia.
Warren was first introduced by two longtime clients and personal friends, Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron, both there to honor him with the evening’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award for battling homophobia. After some words of gratitude, Warren issued a demonstration of rhetorical ferocity worthy of a Hollywood power attorney.
“Justice Antonin Scalia is an old-fashioned bully,” Warren declared. “I may not have had the strength to stand up to the bullies who taunted me in the fifth grade, but I do now. We do now. Justice Antonin Scalia, the bully on high, we are speaking to you.”
Warren accused the 77-year-old associate justice of making pronouncements that compared “laws against homosexuality to laws against murder” and equating bestiality with same-sex intimacy.
“Has he forgotten that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are core American values?” Warren asked the rapt crowd of 5,000 gathered in the JW Marriott ballroom. “Every American has the right to a life of meaning, with the liberty to choose who we spend that life with, and to pursue happiness through our sexuality and soulfulness.”
Another member of the Supreme Court — Chief Justice John Roberts — also was singled out by Warren, who noted several key parallels in the two men’s lives.
“[Just as I did], Chief Justice John Roberts attended an Ivy League college, followed by Harvard Law School and Harvard Law Review and built a thriving private practice as well,” Warren pointed out. “And [he] has adopted two children of his own. Only one of us, however, was told by their state that their home was not fit for a child, despite all the child-proofing and security measures in the world. Only one of us was subjected to the humiliation and degradation of being forced to appeal to a family court judge with the power to overturn that hate-filled judgment mandated by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.”
“How did this happen?” Warren pressed on. “It happened because Chief Justice John Roberts was accorded the protections of the U.S. Constitution. And I was not.”
Later, accepting the Advocate for Change Award, President Clinton had high praise for Warren’s speech.
“I was very impressed by the speech of my predecessor up here, and I cannot hope to equal it, but I’d like to say amen to it. It was quite wonderful,” Clinton said.
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