After R.B.G. Awards Go to Musk and Murdoch, Justice Ginsburg’s Family Objects

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of liberal causes whose advocacy of women’s rights catapulted her to pop culture fame, helped establish a leadership award in 2019, she said she intended to celebrate “women who exemplify human qualities of empathy and humility.”

But this year, four of the recipients are men, including Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur who frequently lobs tirades at perceived critics; Rupert Murdoch, the business magnate whose empire gave rise to conservative media; and Michael Milken, the face of corporate greed in the 1980s who served nearly two years in prison. It has prompted family members and close colleagues of Justice Ginsburg to demand that her name be removed from the honor, commonly called the R.B.G. Award.

In a statement, her daughter, Jane C. Ginsburg, a law professor at Columbia University, said the choice of winners this year was “an affront to the memory of our mother.”

“The justice’s family wish to make clear that they do not support using their mother’s name to celebrate this year’s slate of awardees, and that the justice’s family has no affiliation with and does not endorse these awards,” Ms. Ginsburg said.

Even as he declined to specify any of the recipients who he believed undermined the spirit of the award, Trevor W. Morrison, a former dean of New York University School of Law and one of the justice’s former law clerks, expressed concern that not all of them reflected the justice’s values.

“Justice Ginsburg had an abiding commitment to careful, rigorous analysis and to fair-minded engagement with people of opposing views,” he said in a letter addressed to the organization that confers the awards, the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation. “It is difficult to see how the decision to bestow the R.B.G. Award on this year’s slate reflects any appreciation for — or even awareness of — these dimensions of the justice’s legacy.”

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