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Judge Nancy Gertner ’71 Receives Marshall Award for Contributions to Civil and Human Rights

Judge Nancy Gertner ’71, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, has been awarded the 2008 Thurgood Marshall Award by the American Bar Association and the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities. The award recognizes long-term contributions “to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.” It is named for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who received the inaugural award in 1992.

Judge Gertner is a visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School, where she teaches sentencing. She was appointed a federal judge in 1994, following a career as a criminal defense lawyer and civil rights activist.  She is author of The Law of Juries (with Judith Mizner) and the forthcoming From Red Suit to Black Robe. She holds a B.A. from Barnard and an M.A. and a J.D. from Yale, where she was an editor on The Yale Law Journal.

In receiving the honor, Judge Gertner follows a succession of extraordinary recipients that includes YLS visiting lecturer Steve Bright, who received the award in 1998. She is only the second woman so honored, joining U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who won in 1999. Other past honorees include Jack Greenberg, William Wayne Justice, Julius Chambers, Abner Mikva, Damon Keith, and Frank Johnson.

Judge Gertner will receive her award during the ABA meeting in New York City on August 9.

Judge Gertner delivered a Dean’s Program on the Profession talk at Yale Law School on November 15, 2007. Click here to access streaming video and a podcast of her talk, titled “An Improbable Career: Doing What You Think is Right.”