March 7, 2023

ACS Selects Constitutional Scholar Leah Litman for 2023 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez,

Washington, DC - The American Constitution Society is pleased to announce Leah Litman, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan School of Law, has been selected to receive the 2023 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award. 

The award, now in its second year, recognizes an outstanding scholar in the early stages of an academic career who has demonstrated the qualities exemplified by Justice Ginsburg: scholarly excellence, the ability to imagine how society might be more just and more equal, and the determination to use the law and one’s scholarship to creatively and strategically make the imagined real.  

Last year’s inaugural recipient was Abbye Atkinson, the Class of 1965 Assistant Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. 

“ACS is delighted to present this award to Professor Litman,” said ACS President Russ Feingold. “Her scholarship on constitutional law and federal courts is impressive in both its breadth and depth. Perhaps most importantly, Professor Litman strives with her scholarship to expose the real world and often discriminatory effects of seemingly mundane and neutral rules and procedures, demonstrating the power that legal scholarship can have in challenging and transforming our laws and legal systems.”

As important and insightful as Professor Litman’s scholarly work has been, she has also distinguished herself through her ability to translate these insights in a way that both taps into and helps shape today’s popular legal commentary.

“Her skill in communicating nuanced legal ideas has allowed her to foster a broad audience of lawyers and non-lawyers for her work,” Feingold said “As co-host and co-creator of the hit podcast Strict Scrutiny, a frequent contributor to some of the most widely read outlets in the country, and an active pro bono litigator, Professor Litman’s career embodies the values of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award and ACS.”

Litman will be presented her award at the ACS Annual National Convention in Washington, D.C. on May 18. She will also receive a cash prize of $5,000. 

While Justice Ginsburg’s litigation career is widely praised, her significant academic experience and accomplishments are less well known to the public. Ginsburg began her academic career at Rutgers Law School, where she co-founded the first legal journal in the country to focus exclusively on the field of women’s rights law and taught her first class on Women and the Law, among the earliest taught on the subject in American law schools. 

“I am honored to receive this award from ACS and the incredible community of scholars and leaders they represent. I started tenure-track teaching in 2016, and so I’ve focused my research on some of the problems with the law and legal profession that were pointedly exposed at that time and that we’re continuing to grapple with today. I appreciate ACS’s recognition of my scholarship, as well as my efforts to engage broader audiences in these conversations. And of course, given my work with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and on issues of gender equity, I’m very touched to receive an award named for Justice Ginsburg.” 

Litman teaches and writes on constitutional law, federal courts, and federal sentencing. Her research examines unidentified and implicit values that are used to structure the legal system, the federal courts, and the legal profession. Litman’s recent work has appeared or will appear in the California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Texas Law Review, Duke Law Journal, and Northwestern Law Review, among other journals. Her writing for popular audiences has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate. She also co-founded Women Also Know Law, a media platform designed to promote the work of women and nonbinary academics. 

Litman maintains an active pro bono practice. She was part of the litigation team in Garcia v. United States, one of the successful challenges to the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, for which the team was recognized as California Lawyers of the Year. In the Supreme Court, she was on the merits briefs in Hernandez v. Mesa and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Last year, working with the ACLU of Michigan, she argued and won a case in the Michigan Supreme Court which held that Michigan civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Law, Litman served as an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. She was previously a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic, and a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Litman also clerked for the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and clerked for the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan School of Law and earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard College. 


The American Constitution Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan legal organization. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, advocates, and many others, our mission is to support and advocate for laws and legal systems that strengthen our democratic legitimacy, uphold the rule of law, and redress the founding failures of our Constitution and enduring inequities in our laws in pursuit of realized equality. For more information, visit us at or on Twitter @acslaw.