David Boies and Ted Olson to Receive Highest Honor from American Bar Association

David Boies and Ted Olson, lead attorneys in the federal case challenging California's Proposition 8, have been awarded the American Bar Association's highest honor, the ABA Medal:

Olson_boies The ABA Medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence. The medal’s recipient is chosen by the ABA’s Board of Governors.

“It’s an honor to present the ABA Medal to David and Ted,” said ABA President Stephen N. Zack. “Our courts are being starved for lack of funding. Through their leadership on the Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, David and Ted have effectively worked to protect the third co-equal branch of government and our constitutional democracy.”


The ABA Medal is given only in years when the ABA Board of Governors determines a nominee has provided exceptional and distinguished service to the law and the legal profession. Among previous recipients are legendary justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William J. Brennan Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy. Other recipients include Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski; human rights activist Father Robert Drinan; co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William H. Gates Sr.; and Judge Patricia Wald, member of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Boies and Olson will receive the award on August 8 at the ABA's annual meeting.


  1. Abel says

    Wonderful and well-deserved! I hope these men get to argue the case before SCOTUS. They are truly heroes. Thank you, gentlemen.

  2. Joe in CT says

    Terrific news. And, important recognition for an effort that will be remembered as a milestone in American civil rights long after these guys are no longer around. What a legacy…

  3. says

    They deserve it partly because for taking the case in the first place, but mostly for the arguments they made. They were totally brill. Knocked off my ankle sockies.

  4. MerlynHerne says

    Congratulations, gentleman–you deserve this and more for the job you have done. Many said tht you were out to stab us in the back (particularly Mr. Olson) but I felt you should be given the chance to prove yourself. You both did not disappoint. Thank you for all your continued hard work on behalf of marriage equality.

  5. BobN says

    Generally, I prefer giving awards AFTER people have won a great victory. On the other hand, this is a way for the ABA to let the SCOTUS know where most of the lawyers — or at least their leaders — stand on the issue.

  6. says

    Regardless of how their case turns out at the Supreme Court, Olson and Boies richly deserve this honor. If nothing else, their work on behalf of marriage equality proves that Gay Rights is NOT a partisan concern. Huzzah for them!