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The American Bar Foundation Mourns the Loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 22, 2020, Press releases

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received the ABF Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award in 1995. She is pictured here with Marna Tucker, Vice-Chair of The Fellows, at the 1995 American Bar Association Annual Meeting.

CHICAGO, Sept. 22, 2020 - The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dedicated public servant and a trailblazer for gender equality.

In addition to her longstanding service to the American public and the legal profession, Justice Ginsburg was a decades-long supporter of the ABF. Prior to her nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg served on the ABF Board of Directors from 1979 to 1989. She was on the Executive Committee of the ABF Board of Directors and served as Secretary of the ABF from 1986 to 1990. She was Patron Fellow of the ABF.

In 1995, the Fellows of the ABF presented Justice Ginsburg with the ABF Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award. Awarded annually since 1957, the Outstanding Scholar Award is given to an individual who has engaged in outstanding scholarship in the law or government.

“Justice Ginsburg will forever be remembered for her incomparable legacy of public service and her lifelong commitment to justice and equality,” said ABF Executive Director Ajay K. Mehrotra. “This is a great loss for the American Bar Foundation, the justice system, and the entire country. As a former board member and Patron Fellow, Justice Ginsburg played a key role in making the ABF the institution that it is today.  We send out deepest condolences to Justice Ginsburg’s family.”

The 2016 official portrait of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and became only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Before becoming Supreme Court Justice, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1971, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel, 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors, 1974–1980. Ginsburg was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. Together with Herma Hill Kay and Kenneth Davidson, she authored the first law school textbook on sex-based discrimination.

Ginsburg previously received numerous awards, including the American Bar Association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, as well as the Thurgood Marshall Award and the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. Additional honors include the Genesis Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Jewish Culture in Sweden’s Gilel Storch Award, in recognition for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.

In 2019, the Berggruen Institute, an independent think tank, awarded Ginsburg its annual prize for Philosophy and Culture. Justice Ginsburg donated the money to organizations that reflect a number of her personal causes, including the American Bar Foundation. To make a contribution to the ABF in Justice Ginsburg’s honor, please visit:

About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is among the world’s leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions.  To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.



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