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ACS Selects University of Wisconsin Law School’s Miriam Seifter for 2024 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award


Miriam Seifter

Miriam Seifter. University of Wisconsin photo

ACS Selects University of Wisconsin Law School’s Miriam Seifter for 2024 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award


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The American Constitution Society announced Miriam Seifter, Professor of Law, Co-Director of the State Democracy Research Initiative, and Rowe Faculty Fellow in Regulatory Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, has been selected to receive the 2024 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award.

According to the Society, the award, now in its third 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.

Previous winners have included University of Michigan Law School Professor Leah Litman, and 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 Seifter, who was, herself, a clerk for Justice Ginsburg,” said ACS President Russ Feingold.

“Her scholarship is notable for its quality, innovation, and perhaps most importantly, relevance to the pressing issues facing the health of the democratic process in our country. Her work on state constitutional and administrative law, particularly around state democratic processes, makes her an important and compelling voice for her generation of legal thinkers and for the legal academy more broadly. Professor Seifter has rightly been recognized by her peers as reinvigorating interest in previously neglected issues at the intersection of state law, state constitutions, and democracy,” Feingold said.

According to the Society, Professor Seifter has also distinguished herself through her creation of the State Democracy Research Initiative in 2021, with fellow UW Law faculty member Rob Yablon. Professors Seifter and Yablon established SDRI to serve as a hub for research and dialogue on state-level democracy, government institutions, and public law around the nation—vital topics that are too often overlooked in favor of the federal legal landscape. Since 2022, the SDRI has released multiple research reports, launched three interactive websites to help educate the public about state constitutions, submitted more than a dozen amicus briefs in state supreme courts across the country, and hosted numerous convenings to build community in the field.
“ACS is proud to honor Professor Seifter’s scholarly career, which has been defined by its intellectual rigor, originality, and impact,” Feingold said.

Seifter will be presented her award at the ACS Annual National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 6. 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.

“It is truly an honor to receive this award and to be recognized for my scholarship,” Seifter said. “Studying the states has not always been regarded as a high priority in the legal academy, and I’m pleased to help turn that tide. I’m especially touched to receive an award named for Justice Ginsburg, who was a generous mentor to me and to so many clerks in addition to being a legendary jurist.”

Seifter’s recent publications appear in the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the NYU Law Review, among others. In 2017 and 2022, UW Law students honored Professor Seifter with the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2018, she received one of twelve Distinguished Teaching Awards from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For her article Gubernatorial Administration, Seifter was named the 2017 winner of the American Constitution Society’s Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law. Her article Understanding State Agency Independence won the ABA’s 2020 Award for Scholarship in Administrative Law.

“Professor Seifter’s groundbreaking work highlights the centrality of state laws and institutions to American constitutional democracy,” said University of Wisconsin Law School Dean Dan Tokaji. “A former clerk of Justice Ginsburg, Professor Seifter carries forward her tireless commitment to the protection of basic rights and principles that are fundamental to democracy. Professor Seifter is not only highly respected among lawyers and law professors but also beloved by our students, who have voted her Classroom Teacher of the Year twice in the past decade. Her brilliance, energy, and leadership inspire us all.”

Seifter received a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University, an M.Sc. with distinction from Oxford University, and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was the Environmental Fellow and an Articles Editor on the Harvard Law Review. After law school, she served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the United States. Prior to joining the UW Law faculty, she was a Visiting Researcher and Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and worked in private practice at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco.

The selection committee for the 2024 American Constitution Society’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar Award included, Joseph Fishkin, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law; Aziz Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law at the University of Chicago School of Law; Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate; Leah Litman, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan School of Law; Micah Schwartzman, Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law; Roy L. and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law; Director, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy at University of Virginia School of Law; and Julie Suk, Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law.


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