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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Receives Berggruen Prize, Donates to Organizations Including the ABF

January 2, 2020, Press releases

CHICAGO, Jan. 2, 2020 – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honored with the $1 million Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, it was announced in December. Ginsburg donated the award money to five dozen organizations that reflect her personal causes, including the American Bar Foundation (ABF). She previously served as an ABF board member, is a long-time ABF Patron Fellow, and received the ABF Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award in 1995.

Ginsburg received the Berggruen Prize for her work as a lifelong trailblazer for human rights and gender equality. She was the second woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court and has served for more than 26 years. According to the Berggruen Prize announcement, “Justice Ginsburg has been a constant voice for justice, equal and accessible to all.”

“The ABF is honored to be among the organizations that received an award donation from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said ABF Executive Director Ajay K. Mehrotra. “As a former board member and Patron Fellow, Justice Ginsburg has played a key role in making the ABF the institution that it is today.” 

In addition to the ABF, Ginsburg donated money to other organizations that reflect her personal causes including the Malala Fund, the American Cancer Society, the Metropolitan Opera, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Smile Train.

Ginsburg previously received numerous awards, including the American Bar Association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, also the Thurgood Marshall Award, as well as 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.

Prior to becoming Supreme Court Justice, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union 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.

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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