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Margaret H. Marshall Receives Yale Law Women Alumni Achievement Award

On April 21, 2005, Margaret H. Marshall '76, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, visited the Law School and was presented with the Yale Law Women Alumni Achievement Award. Below are the comments from the presentation ceremony of Saleela Khanum Salahuddin '06, explaining the award and why Marshall was selected to receive it.

Remarks by Saleela Khanum Salahuddin '06 for the 2005 Yale Law Women Alumni Achievement Award for Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Good morning, everyone. Thank you all so much for coming today! Thank you to Dean Koh and Professor Siegel for their wonderful introductions as well. My name is Saleela Salahuddin and I am a second year student here at the Yale Law School. On behalf of the entire board of Yale Law Women, I would like to welcome you to our Alumni Achievement Award for 2005. Yale Law Women created this award in 2004 to honor distinguished women graduates of the Yale Law School -- women who have improved the lot of others by using the power of the law and become role models for all members of the profession.

We are honored to have with us today this year's recipient, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In every respect, Chief Justice Marshall embodies the attributes of valor, wisdom, and compassion that we envisioned when creating this award. Throughout her most distinguished career in the law, Chief Justice Marshall has provided an admirable example of lawyering for the real world, using her career in the law to pursue the goal of equal justice for all members of society. Her incredible skills as an advocate have been evident throughout her life and set her apart from the status quo -- she was a fearless anti-apartheid leader in her native South Africa, she was one of the few female law partners to break through the glass ceiling that hovered over the women practitioners of her generation, she was a savvy Vice President and General Counsel of Harvard University handling the day-to-day challenges posed by academic administration, and she was the very first female Chief Justice of the highest court in Massachusetts and only the second woman to serve on that court in its more than three-hundred year history.

Even as her career has helped her to ascend to tremendous heights, Chief Justice Marshall has remained a jurist of the real world with her feet firmly planted on the ground -- as a public figure, she has taken the courageous stand to strike out against injustice and improve the lot of others. As Senator Robert Kennedy once said, and as Chief Justice Marshall herself has quoted, "It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a [person] stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Please join Yale Law Women in recognizing Chief Justice Marshall's numberless diverse acts of courage. Thank You.