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NCLA’s King George III Prize Recognizes Cardona and Mayorkas as the Worst Civil Liberties Violators

Washington, DC (June 5, 2024) – The polls are closed and the Administrative State’s biggest civil liberties abusers are Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas! After a weeks-long public vote as part of the New Civil Liberties Alliance’s Fourth Annual “King George III Prize,” Cardona and Mayorkas garnered the most votes among 32 rights-violating bureaucrats in bracket campaigns on social media. In the “Runaway Regulator” category, Cardona took the King George III Prize over EPA Administrator Michael Regan. In the “State Censorship” category, Mayorkas won the King George III Prize over Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The two “winners” were announced last night at an event in Washington, DC.

Cardona received the Prize after launching unconstitutional plots to cancel student loan debt despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s shooting down the Biden Administration’s initial unlawful plan for student loan debt cancellation—a violation that also earned a nomination for Richard Cordray. NCLA won an amicus victory over Cardona in that case last June when the Supreme Court struck handed down its decision in Biden v. Nebraska. NCLA is currently leading multiple suits challenging subsequent schemes transferring student debt to taxpayers.

The Prize went to Mayorkas for DHS’s role in a massive government-sponsored censorship scheme using social media to eliminate online speech the government did not like. NCLA secured a preliminary injunction last year in Murthy v. Missouri against Mayorkas’s department and several other federal officials and agencies to block such censorship. The Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold the injunction this month and put Mayorkas’s speech-chilling days behind him.

Last night NCLA also awarded Drs. Azadeh Khatibi, Tracy Høeg, Ram Duriseti, Aaron Kheriaty, and Pete Mazolewski NCLA’s Award for Client Bravery. NCLA represented these courageous doctors in the successful Høeg v. Newsom suit challenging a California state law that would have subjected them to discipline for sharing information with patients that departed from the “contemporary scientific consensus” on Covid-19. Gov. Newsom signed a bill to repeal the law, marking a major victory for our clients, free speech, and medical liberty.

NCLA also presented a “Georgie” award (a bust of George Washington) to Latham & Watkins partner Roman Martinez for outstanding service to NCLA and our clients. He delivered oral argument to the Supreme Court in January in our Relentless Inc. v. Dept. of Commerce case against the unconstitutional Chevron doctrine. The Buckeye Institute Director of Litigation David Tryon and Legal Fellow Alex Certo took home the Georgie for Best Amicus Brief, while A. Gregory Grimsal received the Best Local Counsel Award. NCLA recognized the winner of its Student Note Competition, Matthew Lambertson of the University of Florida’s Levin Law School, who earned a $10,000 prize to be split with the Florida Law Review for his illuminating publication entitled: “The Common Law and SEC Rule 10b-5(b): Narrowing the Securities ‘Fraud’ Exception to the First Amendment.” Finally, NCLA honored newly retired former Senior Litigation Counsel Richard Samp with the Cincinnatus Award, celebrating his illustrious 30-plus-year career defending justice in our Republic.

NCLA released the following statements:

“This is NCLA’s fourth year running the King George III Prize competition. This year was so bad for Americans’ civil liberties that we had to give TWO prizes. Calling out these runaway regulators and state censors for their civil liberties abuses draws much-needed attention to an Administrative State rife with bureaucrats run amok.”
— Clegg Ivey, Director of Engagement, NCLA

“Under the Biden Administration federal bureaucrats are violating Americans’ civil liberties faster than the federal courts can stop them. Secretary Cardona richly deserves this Prize for his cynical and utterly unlawful scheme to transfer student loan debt to taxpayers. Secretary Mayorkas likewise fully earned his King George III Prize for overseeing government-sponsored censorship of American citizens at a scale unparalleled in our nation’s history.”
— Mark Chenoweth, President, NCLA

For more information visit the King George III Prize page here.


NCLA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy strive to tame the unlawful power of state and federal agencies and to foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore Americans’ fundamental rights.

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