chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 10, 2024

Federal judge Royce C. Lamberth receives ABA Morris I. Leibman Award

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2024 – The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security honored Royce C. Lamberth, senior judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, with its Morris I. Leibman Award in Law and National Security.

The award, which recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated a sustained commitment and made exceptional contributions to the field of national security law, honors the memory of Morris I. Leibman, a distinguished lawyer and co-founder of the standing committee and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award was presented at the standing committee’s June 6 business dinner meeting.

Lamberth was appointed United States district judge for the District of Columbia in 1987, serving as chief judge from 2008 to 2013, when he became a senior judge. He was an assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia from 1974 to 1987 and was chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office from 1978-1987.

As a judge, Lamberth has made unique and enduring contributions in several areas of national security law.  He shaped the contours of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, laying the groundwork for the Flatow Amendment that holds state sponsors of terrorism liable for their actions. He was the first judge to preside over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a full seven-year appointment. His opinions concerning the Classified Information Procedures Act have been formative in how courts apply that law to protect both defendants’ rights and national security. 

Lamberth is a member of the ABA, Federal Bar Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Bar. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Lamberth earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Click here for a list of previous Leibman award recipients.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. To review our privacy statement, click here. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.