Marty Stolar, Presente!

Legendary movement lawyer remembered warmly by people whose lives he touched.

John Tarleton Jul 4

From the Panther 21  to Occupy Wall Street and beyond, Marty Stolar was a brilliant movement lawyer who fought for the rights of protesters for more than 50 years. He died on Monday. Here are some reactions to Stolar’s passing. 

“We’ve suffered a devastating loss with the death of Martin R. Stolar. Marty was a movement lawyer’s movement lawyer, a long-time @NLGNYCnews @NLGnews leader, and mentor, supporter, and friend to countless legal workers over the years, myself included. Marty Stolar – live like him,” wrote civil-rights and criminal defense lawyer Gideon Oliver on X.

“Devastating. We LOVE you so much, Marty Stolar,” commented Sane Energy in response. “You BLESSED us with your life in this short time on this wild planet Earth. We vow to continue your legacy for justice. Thank you for the NUMEROUS times you stood beside us, strategized with us, and taught us.”

“I don’t think NY courts will ever be the same. He must have trained hundreds of NY attorneys in this tradition of movement lawyering,” added UCLA law professor Sunita Patel.

מנא מנא תקל ופלסטין took to X to commemorate Stolar as “a movement lawyer who knew how to put the movement first, and not channel it into the dead ends of law.”

New York City reporter Jake Offenhartz shared a thread about being influenced by Stolar during his childhood.

“Growing up, Marty and his wife Elsie, a public defender, came to my house every few weeks so my mom could cut their hair. They’d sit in the dining room telling vivid stories about their work and cursing endlessly. I’d hang out and listen while eating the Zabar’s they brought us,” wrote Offenhartz.

“I look back and think how cool it is that he – and his equally formidable partner – took an interest in the early political education of their hairdresser’s kid. They didn’t have to, but I know it was hugely valuable, probably more than I realized at the time. RIP,” tweeted Offenhartz.

In 2018, The Indypendent’s Apoorva Tadepalli wrote a profile on Stolar that described his life’s work and the joy he brought to it. “His smile remains something of an undercurrent on his face,” Tadepalli describes. “It gives his eyes a kind, crinkled look even when they are wide with indignation, as they often are when he talks about injustice.”

And, finally, in this YouTube video, Marty talks about representing protesters and some of the cases that shaped his practice. 

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