Tinker case attorney Dan Johnston named Louise Noun Award winner

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Iowa announced last week that the 2014 Louise Noun Award will be presented to Dan Johnston who successfully argued the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney Dan Johnston, Mary Beth Tinker and John Tinker discuss their Supreme Court case during a Tinker Tour stop in Des Moines Iowa in October 2013

Attorney Dan Johnston, Mary Beth Tinker and John Tinker discuss their Supreme Court case during a Nov. 18 Tinker Tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I applaud the award being given to Dan who has spent his life working not only for the rights of young people — but all people,” said Mary Beth Tinker, who was just 13 when she was suspended from school for wearing a black armband to mourn those killed in the Vietnam War.

Johnston, a young volunteer attorney with the ACLU at the time, agreed to represent Tinker, her brother John and their friend and fellow student Chris Eckhardt, who were also suspended for wearing armbands.

After losing at both the federal district and appeals court, Johnston successfully argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1969 ruled that students and teachers are protected by the First Amendment when in school. The case has been cited by more than 6,000 courts since that time.

“I am a huge fan. He was a good friend at a time we needed one,” Tinker said.

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Tinker Tour attorney Mike Hiestand (left) and Tinker v. Des Moines attorney Dan Johnston during a Nov. 18 Tinker Tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Noun award is named after Louise Noun, the distinguished Des Moines activist, philanthropist and former president of the ACLU of Iowa Board of Directors. It is given to those who have made significant contributions or displayed uncommon courage on behalf of civil liberties in the state.

Read the full press release here.

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