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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family dissents after award in her name is given to Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch

The family of the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants her name pulled off an award after the foundation in charge of doling it out named SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch among this year’s recipients.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Ginsburg’s family said that, with the selection of this year’s honorees, the Opperman Foundation had “strayed far from the original mission of the award and from what Justice Ginsburg stood for.”

Ginsburg’s family said they were not affiliated with the award and called the choices of honorees this year an “affront” to the justice’s memory.

They added that the family supports a letter by Trevor Morrison, a former Ginsburg clerk. “(N)ot everyone on this year’s slate reflects the values to which the Justice dedicated her career, and for which the Justice is rightly revered around the world,” the letter states.

Ginsburg, a longtime liberal member of the high court who died at age 87 in 2020, consistently delivered progressive votes on major social issues, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage and immigration.

In addition to Musk and Murdoch, lifestyle icon Martha Stewart, actor Sylvester Stallone and financier Michael Milken are also recipients of the award.

Barbra Streisand receives The Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award on July 1, 2023 in Malibu, California. - Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation
Barbra Streisand receives The Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award on July 1, 2023 in Malibu, California. - Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation

The Ginsburg award “celebrates leaders who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments in their chosen fields,” according to an announcement by the foundation on Wednesday.

The award has “has previously recognized women of distinction,” the announcement read, but was expanded this year to include trailblazing men and women. The 2023 honoree was Barbra Streisand.

“Justice Ginsburg fought not only for women but for everyone,” said Julie Opperman, chair of the foundation, in a statement accompanying the announcement this week. “Going forward, to embrace the fullness of Justice Ginsburg’s legacy, we honor both women and men who have changed the world by doing what they do best.”

The Opperman Foundation did not respond to an inquiry Friday from CNN.

The foundation described the honorees as ranging from “path-breaking innovators to seasoned veterans across a broad range of professions and industries.”

In the announcement, the foundation said that Stewart was on Ginsburg’s “original wish list of potential honorees.” Regarding Musk, the group credited his “stratospheric accomplishments.”

The group described Murdoch as “the most iconic living legend in media.”

“This recognition not only reflects my journey in the media and publishing industry but also represents the relentless defense of civil liberties and a commitment to civil discourse that Justice Ginsburg embodied,” Murdoch said in a statement included in the foundation’s announcement.

Neither the Ginsburg’s family’s statement nor Morrison’s letter singled out specific recipients that they objected to, but said the justice’s name should not be attached.

“Each of this year’s awardees has achieved notable success in their careers, and each may well deserve accolades of one form or another,” wrote Morrison, who also served for a time as the dean of the New York University School of Law.

“But the decision to bestow upon them the particular honor of the RBG Award is a striking betrayal of the Justice’s legacy,” he added.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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