Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall (ret.) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will speak at the 2020 Bolch Prize ceremony honoring Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the former deputy chief justice of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.
Justice Moseneke will receive the 2020 Bolch Prize for the Rule of Law during the ceremony, in recognition of his lifelong advocacy for justice and human rights and his extraordinary life of service in South Africa. David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School and a former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, and Duke Law School Dean Kerry Abrams also will speak at the ceremony, which will be held on April 9 in Washington, D.C (CANCELLED).
The Bolch Prize for the Rule of Law is awarded annually by the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School to an individual or organization who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the rule of law and to advancing rule of law principles around the world. By honoring those who do this work, the Bolch Prize draws attention to the ideals of justice and judicial independence and to the constitutional structures and safeguards that undergird a free society. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (ret.) was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2019.
Justice Moseneke is an internationally revered jurist who helped build and lead a post-apartheid, democratic South Africa. He helped draft South Africa’s Interim Constitution and oversaw the nation’s first democratic elections in the post-apartheid era. Over the course of 15 years as a justice and then deputy chief justice of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, Moseneke authored numerous influential opinions that helped clarify and strengthen democratic principles and the separation of powers among the branches of government in South Africa.
Justice Ginsburg is the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice to visit South Africa. She addressed the South African Constitutional Court, on which Justice Moseneke served, in an often-cited talk in Pretoria in 2006.
“Justice Moseneke is a globally respected judge and thinker who has helped us understand that the ideal of the rule of law must be more than a system of rules and adherence to them,” Levi said. “He has articulated an understanding of the rule of law as a legal system that defends individual rights and freedoms, that provides for equal treatment and opportunity, and that in content and spirit advances democratic principles and human dignity. That vision transformed South Africa and offers a shining example of transformation from oppression to liberty. We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize Justice Moseneke’s extraordinary contributions to the rule of law.”
Attendance at the prize ceremony is by invitation only. The ceremony is open to media coverage, but space is limited. For more information or to reserve a media seat, please contact Melinda Vaughn, associate director of the Bolch Judicial Institute.
Hon. Dikgang Moseneke, Former Deputy Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa, was born in 1947 in Pretoria. He was arrested at age 15 for opposing apartheid, the state system of institutionalized racial segregation, and sentenced to 10 years in the prison rock quarry of Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa. His fellow political prisoners included future South African presidents Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma. While in prison, Justice Moseneke earned two degrees through a correspondence course with the University of South Africa. He went on to become a leading law practitioner, defending political prisoners and representing corporations. As apartheid ended, Justice Moseneke helped draft South Africa’s Interim Constitution. A year later, in 1994, he served as the deputy chair of the Independent Electoral Commission that oversaw the tense first democratic elections in South Africa. He was appointed to the nation’s High Court in 2001 and elevated to the Constitutional Court in 2002; he became the deputy chief justice in 2005, a position from which he retired in 2016. Justice Moseneke’s legacy as a leader in the law includes jurisprudence on affirmative action, rule of law, separation of powers, socio-economic rights, property, economic justice, and anti-corruption law. He earned the 2018 “Order of Luthuli in Gold,” South Africa’s highest honor, in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the field of law and the administration of justice.” He holds multiple honorary degrees, has held numerous positions of leadership in business, higher education, government, and law, and is a widely published scholar. He is serving as a Rubenstein Fellow at Duke University during the spring 2020 semester.
Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, was born in Brooklyn, New York, 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. She 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 to 1961. From 1961 to 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 to 1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977 to 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 to 1980. She served on the Board and Executive Committee of the American Bar Foundation from 1979 to 1989, on the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association Journal from 1972 to 1978, and on the Council of the American Law Institute from 1978 to 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 August 10, 1993.
Hon. Margaret H. Marshall (Retired), Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, was born and raised in South Africa and obtained her baccalaureate from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While an undergraduate, she was elected president of the National Union of South African Students, at the time a leading anti-apartheid organization, beginning her life-long work as a human rights advocate. She came to the United States to pursue her graduate studies at Harvard and became a United States citizen in 1978. She completed a master’s degree at Harvard and a J.D. at Yale Law School; practiced law with the Boston firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart; and served as vice president and general counsel of Harvard University before she was named an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1996. In 1999 she became the first woman to serve as chief justice of that court. Chief Justice Marshall has served as president of the United States Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the board of the National Center for State Courts. She is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an emeritus member of the council and executive committee of the American Law Institute.
Hon. David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute, is the Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies at Duke Law School. He was previously the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law, serving from 2007 to 2018. Prior to that appointment, he was the Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California with chambers in Sacramento. He was appointed United States Attorney by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and a United States district judge by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. A native of Chicago, Levi earned his A.B. in history and literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard College. He entered Harvard’s graduate program in history, specializing in English legal history and serving as a teaching fellow in English history and literature. He graduated Order of the Coif in 1980 from Stanford Law School, where he was also president of the Stanford Law Review. Following graduation, he was a law clerk to Judge Ben C. Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then to Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court. He has served as chair of two Judicial Conference committees (the Civil Rules Advisory Committee and the Standing Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure) by appointment of the Chief Justice. He has served on the board of directors of Equal Justice Works, as chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, as president of the Ninth Circuit District Judges Association, and as co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as president of the American Law Institute (ALI).
Kerry Abrams, the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and Professor of Law, was appointed dean of Duke Law on July 1, 2018. She teaches courses in immigration, citizenship, and family law, and is well-known for scholarly writing on family-based migration, the legal regulation of immigrant families, the history of immigration law, and constitutional family rights. Prior to her appointment at Duke, she served on the law faculty of the University of Virginia for 13 years, and, more recently, as the University of Virginia’s vice provost for faculty affairs. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where she earned a B.A. in English literature with highest honors. She graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Moot Court Board and the co-chair of Women of Stanford Law. After law school, she clerked for Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and practiced as a commercial litigator for several years at the New York City law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP. She also served as acting assistant professor of lawyering at New York University School of Law, where she taught lawyering skills, including legal research, writing, oral advocacy, mediation, negotiation, and client counseling. She is a member of the New York State Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar.