Albie Sachs

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Albie Sachs (1935-) was a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He was appointed to the court by Nelson Mandela in 1994 and retired in October 2009. Justice Sachs gained international attention in 2005 as the author of the Court's holding in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie, in which the Court overthrew South Africa's statute defining marriage to be between one man and one woman as a violation of the Constitution's general mandate for equal protection for all and its specific mandate against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Justice Sachs is also recognized for the development of the differentiation between constitutional rights in three different degrees or generations of rights.

Early life

Sachs was born into a South African Jewish family of Lithuanian background. His career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen, when as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later, in 1955, he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was adopted.

He started practice as an advocate at the Cape Town Bar aged of twenty one, where he defended people charged under racial statutes and security laws under South African Apartheid. Sachs has a law degree from the University of Cape Town and a PhD from Sussex University.

Imprisonment and exile

After being arrested and placed in solitary...
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