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Award of Merit

Since 1957, the Yale Law School Association, the alumni organization of Yale Law School, has presented the Award of Merit annually to an esteemed graduate of Yale Law School or to a person who has served as a full-time member of the Yale Law School faculty for at least ten years. The recipients of the Award are recognized for having made a substantial contribution to public service or to the legal profession. Previous recipients of the award include: Eugene V. Rostow '37 (1965), Cyrus R. Vance '42 (1971), Gerald R. Ford '41 (1979), Eleanor Holmes Norton '64 (1980), Ellen Ash Peters '54 (1983), and William J. Clinton '73 (1993).

The Award itself was redesigned in 1998. It is a stained glass medallion resting in an oak base with a brass plaque inscribed to the recipient. The medallion depicts a traditional seated image of Justice holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. It was executed by Enchanted Glassworks of Beacon Falls, Connecticut.

The medallion design is based on one of the many stained glass windows found within Yale's Sterling Law Buildings. The inspiration for that window, designed by Henderson Brothers of New York City during the original construction of the buildings in 1929- 1931, was an image found on the reverse side of a Medieval playing card, copied from an illustration in Les Cartes a Jouer, a book depicting the history of playing cards from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries.


List of Recipients

2014
U.S. Supreme Court Justices
–Clarence Thomas ’74
–Samuel Alito ’75
–Sonia Sotomayor ’79

2013
Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73

2012
David Boies II ’66

2011
Luzius P. Wildhaber ’65 LL.M., ’68 J.S.D.

2010
Richard E. Ayres '69
John E. Bryson '69
J. Gustave Speth, Jr., '69
Edward L. Strohbehn Jr., '69

2009
Harold Hongju Koh

2008
Charles A. Reich ’52
John G. Simon ’53

2007
Linda J. Greenhouse ’78 M.S.L.

2006
Margaret H. Marshall ’76
Drayton Nabers ’65
Randall T. Shepard ’72

2005
William Drayton '70

2004
Anthony T. Kronman '75

2003
Drew S. Days, III '66

2002
Frederick Wiseman '54

2001
Joseph I. Lieberman '67

2000
Ralph K. Winter '60 (with portrait)

1999
Marian Wright Edelman '63; Alexander D. Forger '50

1998
Robert E. Rubin '64

1997
Rosalyn C. Higgins '62 J.S.D.
Shigeru Oda '52 LL.M., '53 J.S.D.
Stephen M. Schwebel '54

1996
Oct. Hugh B. Price '66
Nov. Louis F. Oberdorfer '46

1995
Burke Marshall '51

1994
May Jane M. Bolin '31
Oct. Guido Calabresi '58 (with portrait)

1993
William J. Clinton '73 (with portrait)

1992
Herbert Brownell '27 and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach '47

1991
Apr. Myres S. McDougal '31 J.S.D.
Oct. Boris I. Bittker '41

1990
David A. Jones '60

1989
Louis H. Pollak '48

1988
Carla Anderson Hills '58

1987
Patricia M. Wald '51 (with portrait)

1986
Benno C. Schmidt Jr. '66

1985
Harry H. Wellington (with portrait)

1984
John C. Danforth '63
Gary W. Hart '64
Arlen Specter '56
Paul E. Tsongas '67

1983
Ellen A. Peters '54 (with portrait)

1982
Robert M. Morgenthau '48

1981
Lloyd N. Cutler '39

1980
Eleanor Holmes Norton '64

1979
Gerald R. Ford '41

1978
Oscar M. Ruebhausen '37
Herbert J. Hansell '49 (Co-chairs YLS Campaign)

1977
Edward Hirsch Levi '38 J.S.D.

1976
Abraham S. Goldstein '49

1975
A. Leon Higginbotham '52

1974
None awarded during sesquicentennial celebration

1973
Gerard C. Smith '38

1972
Florence M. Kelley '37

1971
Cyrus R. Vance '42

1970
Byron R. White '46

1969
John V. Lindsay '48

1968
Potter Stewart '41

1967
Gerhard A. Gesell '35

1966
Abe Fortas '33

1965
Eugene V. Rostow '37

1964
William W. Scranton '46

1963
Roswell L. Gilpatric '28 B.A., ’31 LL.B.

1962
Roger M. Blough '31 LL.B.

1961
Neil Leonard '24 LL.B.

1960
William Dean Embree, Jr. ’37 B.A., '40 LL.B.
William M. Maltbie ’01 B.A., ’05 LL.B., '33 LLD (Hon.)

1959
Arthur L. Corbin, Jr. ’23 B.A., ’26 LL.B.

1958
Thomas W. Swan '00 B.A. M.A. (Hon.) '00

1957
Ernest A. Inglis '11 LL.B.