HLS to Unveil Portrait of Judge Deborah A. Batts

A portrait of United States District Judge Deborah A. Batts, the first and only openly gay, lesbian or bisexual member of the federal judiciary, will be unveiled at Harvard Law School on Saturday, October 27, 2001. The unveiling will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Caspersen Room of Langdell Hall. A reception will follow.

“The Law School is pleased and honored to accept the portrait, which will be a superb tribute to this distinguished member of the bench,” said Harvard Law School Dean Robert C. Clark, a former classmate of Batts at the Law School.

Judge Batts, an African-American woman, was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1994 by President Clinton. Prior to joining the bench, she was an associate professor at Fordham University School of Law where she continues to serve as an adjunct professor.

“I want to thank the incredible people who conceived of and set in motion this portrait project,” said Batts. “I am so touched and amazed that anyone would do this. In fact, I am as embarrassed as I am pleased.”

Batts, a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School, also has an undergraduate degree from Radcliffe where she has served on the Board of Trustees.

The portrait will be presented to the Law School by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alumni/ae Committee of the Harvard Law School Association. The Committee, a formal part of HLSA with over 300 members, raised the funds for the portrait and, with the participation of Judge Batts and the Law School, selected the artist.

“Judge Batts is a true credit to Harvard and to the gay, lesbian, bisexual community,” said Scott Wiener, chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alumni/ae Committee. “Hanging her portrait at Harvard Law School is a unique opportunity to demonstrate Harvard’s diversity.”

Co-chairs of GLBAC’s subcommittee for the Judge Batts portrait are two graduates of the Law School, Lisa Otero, class of 1992, and Jack Wofford, class of 1962.

The Batts portrait has been painted by artist Simmie Knox of Silver Spring, Maryland. Knox, a distinguished and prolific artist, is currently working on the official portrait of former President Clinton. His portfolio includes a number of judges and nationally known public figures including U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and baseball legend Hank Aaron.

Concurrent with the portrait unveiling, the Law School is opening a major exhibit in its library on the subject of “A Marriage of Equals – Changing Marriage Law Through History.”