Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Press Release for the Szasz Award

For Immediate Release

For Release 10/14/99
Contact: Julian Sanchez
(212) 925-8992

Psychologist Jeffrey Schaler, Attorneys Chip Mellor and Clint Bolick, Receive Szasz Civil Liberties Award.

New York--The ninth annual Thomas S. Szasz Award, given for outstanding contributions to the cause of civil liberties, has been awarded to Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D. (Professional Category) and to Chip Mellor and Clint Bolick, co-founders of the Institute for Justice (Activist Category). The award is sponsored by the Center for Independent Thought.

Jeffrey A. Schaler, a psychologist and therapist in private practice since 1973, has lectured against the therapeutic state and on the myth of mental illness to thousands of university and college students in diverse academic settings. He is an adjunct professor of justice, law, and society at American University's School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., where he has taught courses on drugs, psychiatry, liberty, justice, law, and public policy since 1990. He is on the continuing faculty at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and has taught courses on psychology, addiction, and "mental illness" since 1992. A staunch libertarian, he has long argued in favor of the right to drugs as property, and has always opposed the medicalization of addiction as an alternative to drug prohibition. A frequent guest on national radio and television, Dr. Schaler has played a leading role in the development of secular, autonomous national and international self-help groups for people with problems related to drug use for many years now. He served as a consultant to the Maryland ACLU in Maryland vs. Norfolk, one of the first cases involving the relationship between court-ordered, state-supported treatment for addiction and First Amendment rights. His latest book, Addiction Is a Choice, will be published by Open Court Publishers in December 1999. Dr. Schaler produced The Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility (

William "Chip" Mellor serves as President and General Counsel of the Institute for Justice, which he co-founded. Mellor litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases nationwide protecting economic liberty and property rights and challenging the Regulatory Welfare State. Among his accomplishments are breaking open Denver's 50-year-old taxi monopoly, advancing the economic liberty rights of New York City's independent van operators, defending New Jersey's welfare reform, and launching the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School, the nation's first legal clinic that offers free legal services to entry-level entrepreneurs. His writings and views have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. He authored the report, "Is New York City Killing Entrepreneurship?"

Clint Bolick serves as vice president and director of litigation at the Institute for Justice, which he co-founded in 1991. Bolick leads the nationwide litigation effort to defend school choice programs. Last year, he won a landmark ruling in Jackson v. Benson in the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. He has also successfully defended school choice programs before the state supreme courts of Arizona and Ohio, and is currently defending choice programs in Florida and Illinois from legal challenge.

Bolick has successfully challenged regulatory barriers to entrepreneurship on behalf of start-up businesses in the inner city. He is a leading opponent of racial classifications and is credited with crafting the opposition to President Clinton's Justice Department nominations of Lani Guinier and Bill Lann Lee. His latest book is Transformation: The Promise and Politics of Empowerment, published in August 1998 by the Institute for Contemporary Studies.

The Wall Street Journal wrote of the Institute and its clients, "Meet the new civil rights activists. Their belief is that the right to earn a living free from excessive regulation is guaranteed by the Constitution." "The Institute for Justice's influence is being felt across the nation," noted Investor's Business Daily. For more information, see

Last year's award was given to publisher Robert D. Kephart. Past winners include computer-privacy champion Philip Zimmermann, property-rights scholar Richard Epstein, British economist Peter Bauer, author Karl Hess, investigative journalist James Bovard, and Julie Stewart, founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

The Thomas S. Szasz Award carries a cash award of $1,000 and is given to honor Dr. Szasz's career-long battle for civil liberties, particularly in the fields of psychiatry, drug policy and mental health. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Center, Syracuse, Szasz's books include The Myth of Mental Illness; The Therapeutic State; Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts and Pushers; Insanity: The Idea and It's Consequences and Cruel Compassion. His latest book is Fatal Freedom: The Ethics and Politics of Suicide (Praeger, October).

For more than four decades, Thomas S. Szasz has distinguished himself as the preeminent defender of individual rights in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. He has remained a steadfast champion of the values of private property and voluntary exchange, the rule of law, and the open society.

Uncompromising in his classical liberal beliefs, Thomas Szasz has been ready--indeed eager--to do battle with massive and entrenched establishments. His struggle on behalf of civil liberties has been indefatigable, sustained over a lifetime of brilliant intellectual accomplishment.

The Thomas S. Szasz Award is a tribute conferred annually on a person or organization, American or foreign, judged to have contributed in an outstanding degree to the cause of civil liberty. In this way, it is hoped that, in years to come, fighters in the cause of Man vs. The State will find encouragement to persevere. It is understood, however, that the greatest encouragement they could find is in the life of Thomas Szasz himself.