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Good guy: Craig Merritt

Richmond lawyer Craig T. Merritt (right) received the George Mason Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro chapter last night.

The annual award recognizes an individual for his or her contributions to Virginia journalism.

Merritt, a partner at Christian & Barton, has been involved in a number of First Amendment and government access cases over the years.

He has often provided his counsel pro bono to groups that don’t have the resources to mount a fight.

Accepting the award at the SPJ reception at the 2300 Club in Richmond’s Church Hill, Merritt cited Mason’s willingness to fight the fights worth fighting for. For example, Mason originally opposed Virginia’s ratification of the Constitution, because it lacked a Bill of Rights.

Those rights, trumpeted by Mason himself in earlier writings, made their way into the Constitution in the first 10 amendments.

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