June 8, 2020

Walter Dellinger Receives the American Constitution Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award; Tina Tchen Named 2020 Progressive Champion


Contact: Nancy Rodriguez media@acslaw.org

Washington, DC — Walter Dellinger, former U.S. Solicitor General, Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, was honored as the recipient of the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Constitution Society during its 2020 Virtual National Convention tonight.

Tina Tchen, President and Chief Executive Officer of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, also was honored with ACS’s 2020 Progessive Champion Award for her work on issues related to gender inequity, sexual harassment, and lack of diversity in the workplace.

“It’s a true honor to be able to award the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award to Walter Dellinger,” said ACS President Russ Feingold. “He has been a tireless champion for the rule of law and has inspired generations of lawyers to dedicate their careers to improving the lives of all Americans. Our country is a better place thanks to his selfless leadership and thoughtful legal counsel and we are honored to count him as a member of the ACS family.

“Inequality lies at the heart of so many of society’s ills and few people work harder to address this important issue than Tina Tchen,” said Feingold. “So many of us who work on the important issues of gender equity and diversity look to Tina for guidance and inspiration and she never fails to deliver. In a time when the world needs as many progressive champions as it can get, we are honored to recognize one of the very best in Tina Tchen.”

“I’m really honored to receive this award from an organization that for two decades has worked to inspire the next generation of lawyers to defend our constitutional democracy and its core values of equality, justice and individual liberty,” said Dellinger, a partner at O’Melveny and Douglas B. Maggs Emeritus Professor of Law at Duke University.

“For nearly two decades, the American Constitution Society has been steadfast in its commitment to fight for the constitutional rights of all people in this country, work that is as relevant and important right now as it has ever been,” said Tchen. “I’m humbled and honored to receive this award -- and pledge to do everything I can to fight discrimination and inequity in all its forms and create permanent, systemic changes to improve the lives of all.”

Dellinger served as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) from 1993 to 1996. He was acting Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the US Supreme Court. During that time, Dellinger argued nine cases before the Court, the most by any Solicitor General in more than 20 years. His arguments included cases dealing with physician-assisted suicide, the line item veto, the cable television act, the Brady Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the constitutionality of remedial services for parochial school children.

Dellinger, who formerly served as O’Melveny’s Diversity and Inclusion Partner, helped convince the US Supreme Court that proponents of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, did not have standing to appeal a court order invalidating it. That ruling, Hollingsworth v. Perry, cleared the way for marriage equality in California and eventually nationwide.

A frequent commentator for the Wall Street Journal, Slate, and major television networks, he has also published articles on constitutional issues for scholarly journals including the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the Duke Law Journal, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the New Republic, and the London Times. He is a member of the ACS Board of Advisors.

As president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, Tchen oversees the organizations’ strategic plans to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds.

In 2017, she co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund with Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves, and Hilary Rosen; since then, the Fund has connected thousands of people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries.

A former assistant to President Barack Obama, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, Tchen has worked for decades to advance gender equality, particularly for working women. At the White House, she spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

Prior to taking the helm at TIME’S UP, Tchen was a lawyer specializing in workplace culture, advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and diversity. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, which she continues to co-chair.


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw.