The LBJ Foundation, on January 30, 2020, awarded its most prestigious honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States. A lifelong advocate for human rights and gender equality, Justice Ginsburg has dedicated her life to dismantling discrimination and preserving the rule of law.
Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation, said: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been aptly described as the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law, and her contributions to American jurisprudence cannot be overstated. She is a fiery champion of justice, providing a good reason why she is so widely regarded as a cultural icon and inspiration to millions.”
The LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award was held Thursday at the Library of Congress in Washington. Following the award presentation by Larry Temple, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, Justice Ginsburg was interviewed on stage by Mark Updegrove, the President and CEO of the LBJ Foundation.
The evening featured a performance by legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor. Other prominent guests included Bill Moyers, White House Press Secretary for President Johnson; Nina Totenberg, NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent; Golden Globe-nominated actress Constance Wu, Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor, and Emmy Award-winning co-host of ABC’s The View Sunny Hostin, who read passages culled from writings throughout Justice Ginsburg’s groundbreaking career; and harmonica virtuoso Frédéric Yonnet.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn on March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954 and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School.
Justice Ginsburg served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978.
In 1971, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She served on the Board and Executive Committee of the American Bar Foundation from 1979-1989, on the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association Journal from 1972-1978, and on the Council of the American Law Institute from 1978-1993.
She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat on August 10, 1993.
The LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award honors those who carry on President Johnson’s legacy, regardless of party affiliation, personifying the mission he defined as our country’s most basic: “to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.” His towering legislative achievements have helped to shape modern America. They include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Immigration Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, federal aid to education, freedom of information, and the creation of Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, Job Corps, PBS and NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Previous recipients include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Jimmy Carter, President George H. W. Bush, Sen. John McCain, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. James Clyburn, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and philanthropist David Rubenstein.