State Policy Network presented the 2016 Roe Award to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick at the SPN 24th Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN, on October 5, 2016.

Honoring the memory of SPN’s founder, Thomas Roe, the Roe Award recognizes a person whose achievements have greatly advanced free market reforms or the lay of the land in which these reforms can be achieved.

“This year’s Roe Award recipient not only knows the personal power of ideas, hard work and tenacity, but he has also defended the rights of individuals to chart their own economic and personal course—to apply their own ideas, hard work and tenacity to better their lives,” said SPN President Tracie Sharp.

Before his appointment to the Arizona Supreme Court, Justice Bolick worked with the Goldwater Institute to launch the nation’s first state-based center for constitutional litigation. Jess Yescalis, a Goldwater Institute colleague and friend, joined forces with Bolick to raise the necessary funds. In his introduction of Justice Bolick at the Roe Award Dinner and presentation, Yescalis reflected on Justice Bolick’s impact during his time at the Goldwater Institute:

“Under Clint’s leadership that center would become America’s preeminent center for state based constitutional litigation, winning countless victories in state and federal courts while at the same time inspiring 15 similar efforts to launch from coast to coast. Today new centers are in the works everywhere from New York to Puerto Rico, while the next generation of this idea–a legal strategy center integrating litigation, initiative and referendum strategies, will soon lunch at the Independence Institute in Colorado. None of this would have happened were it not for Clint Bolick.”

Sharp summed up Justice Bolick’s career, saying, “He has advanced and defended innovative policies that have put power back in the hands of individuals, families, workers, and entrepreneurs in areas such as school choice, healthcare, public sector union reform. He is a public interest litigator many of us are proud to call colleague and friend.”

SPN is pleased to recognize Justice Bolick for his untiring efforts to protect freedom for all Americans.

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SPN Board Chairman Carl Helstrom (left) and SPN President Tracie Sharp (right) present Justice Clint Bolick with the 2016 Roe Award. 

Justice Clint Bolick’s Roe Award Acceptance Remarks

Thank you so much. I am so honored to receive this award and to be among you, the great freedom fighters of our time.  The word humility was used in my introduction by Jess Yescalis. Given that I came running in after doing carpool karaoke with Kramer, humiliation might be more in order for this evening.

Thank you so much, Tracie. You are the President, the architect of this magnificent organization that is the life blood of the freedom movement of this country. My friend and colleague Jess Yescalis has separated more people from more money in pursuit of magnificent ideals than anyone else I know.  Thank you so much, Jess.

And to the visionary Tom Roe for whom this award is named, we follow in his footsteps and that gives us a tremendous responsibility.

I am so proud of the State Policy Network and the organizations that are members of SPN.  Just looking out on this magnificent audience, I just can’t believe it. Those of you who were like me, here at the beginning, could not have imagined how much energy and how much talent would be brought together under one roof. What a roof it is, it actually takes Opryland to have a meeting now; that really tells us a lot. I do want SPN to know the boundaries of our relationship. I love you guys. I will do almost anything for you. This is demonstrated by the fact that I have sung in public for you, not once but twice. But I want you to know that I will never, ever, dance for you.

sdp-spnam-initial-165To get serious for a few moments. The Presidential election that will take place next month is still certainly uncertain. I think that everyone in the room will agree that there is not going to be much freedom emanating from our nation’s capital in the years to come. That means that the future of freedom is on our shoulders. We must make our states laboratories for freedom that vividly demonstrate that not only is freedom right but that freedom works. If we do that, if we commit our energy, our passion, our imagination and our commitment to this task we can do what seems impossible today and that is to leave our children and grandchildren a nation more free than the one we were lucky enough to inherit.

It is going to take everyone in this room. I draw my inspiration from you, and I promise that I will do all I can to vindicate the incredible untapped potential of state constitutions to protect freedom, no matter what direction our United States Supreme Court goes. I look forward to each of us doing what we can in our own unique way to advance freedom in the years to come.

I’ll finish with some words from one of my favorite revolutionaries. Right now the odds seem daunting. It seems like there is no path to greater freedom, it’s simply a defensive battle. That is emphatically not true. The founders of the American republic faced for more daunting odds than we did. I constantly draw revelation from my favorite revolutionary Thomas Paine and I’ll conclude with these words: “Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered but we have this consolation, the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.”

My friends, go get ‘em!