Our 2019 Weltner Banquet will happen Oct. 10. Learn more about our honorees, how to purchase tickets and how to become a sponsor.
Cobb County Superior Court Senior Judge James Bodiford was honored with the 2018 Weltner Freedom of Information Award at the Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s annual Weltner Banquet on Oct. 17. Bodiford, who was the keynote speaker, was recognized for repeatedly protecting the public’s right to courtroom access while presiding over some of Georgia’s highest-profile criminal cases.
The 2018 Weltner Banquet was one of the foundation’s most successful fundraisers ever, attracting more than 120 attendees, 11 event sponsors and pledges from donors that added up more than $136,000. It was a robust display of support for the foundation and our mission to protect and expand open government.
Two major donations were announced during the banquet. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News announced an $80,000 donation for open government training. The Department of Journalism at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication announced a $10,000 donation through its William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management to update and publish the foundation’s Red Book guide to Georgia’s Sunshine Laws.
- Read more about the success of the 2018 Weltner Banquet.
- Watch a video of AJC and WSB-TV newsroom leaders announcing their contribution to the foundation.
- See a photo gallery of the event.
- Check out the event program, which features a Mike Luckovich cartoon and highlights open government achievements in 2018.
About the Award
In the spirit of the late Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles L. Weltner, the annual Weltner Freedom of Information Award and Banquet honors a person or group whose work has significantly improved freedom of information in Georgia.Justice Weltner was an unyielding champion of government transparency. One of his final opinions for the Supreme Court of Georgia in Davis et al v. City of Macon (1992) captured his commitment to First Amendment principles:
“This is the last appeal in which I will participate as a member of the Supreme Court of Georgia… Over the past decade, as I see it, our court has breathed life into some old words that have lain dormant within our constitution for most of their century-old existence. The words are: ‘Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.’ (Constitution of Georgia of 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Par. I.)
We have established that this is no empty phrase, but an obligation that is enforceable in a court of law. Public men and women, above all others, must be of good faith. Neither facile excuse nor clever dissimulation can serve in the stead of duty — faithfully performed. Because public men and women are amenable ‘at all times’ to the people, they must conduct the public’s business out in the open.”
If you have someone you would like to nominate for the Weltner Award, write or email:
Georgia First Amendment Foundation
772 Spalding Drive, Suite 209
Norcross, GA 30092