WASHINGTON – Add a prestigious $1 million “thinkers” award to Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fame and fortune.
The 2019 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture is given annually to “thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world.”
Ginsburg, 86, who has served 26 years on the Supreme Court and survived four bouts with cancer, was chosen from more than 500 nominees, later winnowed down to five. She is the fourth recipient of the prize and the third woman.
The organization said Ginsburg will direct the prize money to charitable or non-profit organizations of her choice.
“I am delighted the jury has chosen to honor such a prolific leader in the field of jurisprudence,” said philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen, founder and chairman of the Berggruen Institute, which seeks to shape political, economic, and social institutions.
“Throughout her career, Ginsburg has used the law to advance ethical and philosophical principles of equality and human rights as basic tenets of the USA. Her contributions have shaped our way of life and way of thinking and have demonstrated to the world the importance of the rule of law in disabling discrimination.”
The group cited Ginsburg’s work in the 1970s with the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. From that perch she brought six cases to the Supreme Court that advanced the cause of gender equality.
In recent years, Ginsburg has become a cultural icon, the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary and a feature-length film as well as books, bobbleheads and workout regimens.
On Monday in California, in fact, Ginsburg told an audience at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law that she never stopped working out, even during her recent bouts with lung and pancreatic cancer.
Workout: Squat, lift, kick, curl: Justice Ginsburg’s workout is tough and it left me exhausted
Since 2016, the prize has been awarded to Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, British philosopher Onora O’Neill and American philosopher Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago.
University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, one of the jurors who chose Ginsburg, hailed her “grit and determination, brains, courage, compassion and a fiery commitment to justice.”
“She inspires women and men of all ages to realize that a democracy thrives to the extent that it provides every citizen equal footing to achieve their dreams,” Gutmann said. “Justice Ginsburg has few peers in advancing the cause of human equality through the law.”