In 1963, Athens native EMMET BONDURANT stood before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued a rather unpopular position: Georgias legislative districts favored moneyed whites and therefore needed to be redrawn. The justices agreed, and Bondurants career as a champion of the underdog got a running start. He was 26. Now 68, Bondurant has been named one of the nations top 10 trial lawyers. In the courtroom, he commonly plays David to Atlantas Goliaths, toppling defendants such as Coca-Cola and King & Spalding. Bondurant also spent 11 years on a pro bono case that got an innocent man off Georgias death row, and worked for four decades to improve the states indigent defense system, which was overhauled by the Legislature in 2003. This year, Bondurant signed on as lead attorney in the fight against Georgias newly passed voter ID law, which critics say disenfranchises low-income, elderly and African-American voters. If it were easy, Bondurant says, it wouldnt be worth doing.
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