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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Leader and Former District Corporation Counsel John Payton

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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray released the following statement today on the death of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President John A. Payton, a former DC Corporation Counsel:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of John A. Payton, a great legal advocate and fearless civil rights leader both nationally and locally.

Although John is no longer with us, his efforts have left a permanent mark on the District’s legal and civic life. For many years, he fought discrimination in all forms through his efforts as a civil-rights attorney – including work on multiple landmark Supreme Court cases. John’s service to the District came not only in his time as Corporation Counsel, but also as a longtime attorney and partner with WilmerHale and as a former president of the DC Bar Association.

Throughout John’s career, he served as a teacher and mentor to generations of young lawyers, including stints as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University School of Law and Harvard Law School.

John always used his keen mind, his firm resolve and his prestigious legal training to ensure that government agencies honored the legal rights and interests of the public. I am grateful for all that he has done to make life better for people in the District of Columbia, across the nation and around the world.”