PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation on May 12 will present its Justice Louis Scolnik Award to Cushman Anthony, 72, of North Yarmouth at a dinner in Freeport.
“Cush Anthony epitomizes service,” Shenna Bellows, executive director of the MCLU, said in a press release announcing the award. “His guiding focus has always been equality and justice for those most vulnerable in our communities.”
While a law school student at the University of Michigan in 1967, Anthony helped operate a student-run legal aid clinic in Ann Arbor, according to the press release. Several years later, he applied this experience as the first director of the Clinical Practice Program at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland. Later, he founded the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, which continues to help low-income individuals with legal cases in southern Maine courts.
Anthony was elected the third president of the MCLU in 1971. His priorities as president reflected the major issues of the era — tackling cases that involved free speech and prisoners’ rights, the press release said. Anthony also oversaw the hiring of the fledgling organization’s first executive director.
“We really take for granted what Cush has accomplished,” Bellows said. “He established and improved programs that are vital to Mainers.”
Anthony served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1986 to 1992. He also served as chairman of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.
The Scolnik Award, established in 1989, honors members of Maine’s legal community who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the protection of civil liberties. It is named for former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Louis Scolnik, who was a founder and the first MCLU president.