Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)
Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)

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2010 Republican Lawyer of the Year: Charles J. Cooper
-Mr. Justin Riemer

It is difficult imagining a more worthy and deserving honoree for this year’s Republican Lawyer of the Year Award than Charles “Chuck” J. Cooper. Beginning with his time as a clerk to then-Justice William Rehnquist to the founding of his firm Cooper and Kirk PLLC, Chuck has truly had a remarkable career. The 100 attendees at the October 7, 2010 event honoring Chuck at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC had the privilege of hearing about Chuck’s career from many of his former colleagues, clients and friends on his career. Attendees also heard from the honoree himself to cap off the evening’s festivities.

National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off the evening’s program with some words about his friendship with Chuck and Chuck’s longtime representation of the organization. Chuck has represented the NRA for over 20 years. During this time Chuck has served as counsel in seminal Supreme Court cases as McConnell v. FEC, in which the NRA as party to the suit challenged many provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”) and FEC v. NRA Political Victory Fund, in which Chuck successfully argued that the composition of the FEC violated the separation of powers doctrine.

Next, attendees were treated to remarks by former Attorney General Ed Meese. Chuck worked in the Justice Department while General Meese served as Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan. General Meese remarked on Chuck’s outstanding work during his service as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division and as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan Justice Department. During these turbulent times, which included the Iran-Contra affair, Chuck cemented his reputation as a man of integrity and honesty.

Attendees also heard from another former colleague of Chuck’s at the Justice Department, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton, entertaining as always, had a few humorous and insightful stories to share about Chuck and the time they spent together at the Justice Department.

Chuck co-founded Cooper and Kirk, PLLC in 1996 after several years at the Washington, DC offices of McGuire Woods and Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. David Thompson, a Partner at Cooper and Kirk spoke about Chuck’s work in private practice. Thompson rattled off a list of Chuck’s remarkable achievements, which include the noteworthy fact that Chuck has argued cases in all the federal circuit courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, and has made appearances testifying before Congressional committees.

RNLA Chair David Norcross, who presented the award to Chuck, had some special messages from folks who were unable to attend but still wanted to send their congratulations. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had the following to say about Chuck:

Chuck is an advocate in every sense of the word, not only on behalf of clients as a gifted litigator and appellate lawyer but also on behalf of the great principles of liberty. … In both government and the private sector, in public interest and private practice litigation, as well as lecturing and in legislative testimony, Chuck Cooper has dedicated his skills, talents, and his character to the principles of liberty which have made this country great and, if we follow Chuck’s example, which can keep this country free. … I am a big fan of the Republican National Lawyers Association and of Chuck Cooper, who has my respect, my friendship, and my congratulations on receiving this award today.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote the following:
Chuck is an Alabama native and one of the nation’s best lawyers. More importantly, he has consistently applied his exceptional abilities to advancing the magnificent American heritage of law. He has stood firm for those values which we have been blessed to receive in the face of powerful political forces from the left. He has never wavered. He is an exceptionally worthy recipient of this honor.
The event would not be complete without remarks by the honoree himself. Chuck graciously accepted the 2010 Lawyer of the Year award and proceeded to offer an insightful commentary as he looked back on his inspiring career and also discussed the current state of the nation. Later, echoing his remarks made at the October 7 reception, Cooper told his hometown paper, The Huntsville Times, “It’s a great honor and I was deeply honored. The award itself, in years past, has been given to some of the most accomplished and talented lawyers I know, so for me to be placed in that company was a real honor and thrill.”

A deserving nominee indeed. Congratulations again, Chuck.

For pictures of this year's Republican Lawyer of the Year Award reception, please click here to visit our Facebook page or click here to visit RNLA's photo gallery.

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