Elvis, Babe Ruth, Scalia Win Presidential Medal of Freedom Award

November 16, 2018 Updated: November 19, 2018

Donald Trump revealed the latest winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award on Nov. 16.

At a special White House ceremony on Friday afternoon, Trump confirmed the recipients include late baseball legend Babe Ruth, pop musician and singer Elvis Presley, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The president also awarded Medals of Freedom to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), NFL legend Roger Staubach, Miriam Adelson, and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

The award is the highest civilian honor in the United States, and presented to people “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to a statement from the White House.

Trump praised all medal recipients before handing them out. “The Presidential Medal of Freedom has been given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American life and culture. This year, it is my true privilege to award this honor to seven extraordinary Americans,” Trump said.

Hatch, Adelson, Page, and Staubach attended the ceremony in person to accept the awards. Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises accepted on behalf of the “King,” grandson Thomas Stevens accepted on behalf of Ruth, and widow Maureen Scalia claimed on behalf of her husband.

The audience at the event included Supreme Court justices, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

White House Pays Homage to Honorees

The White House retrospectively paid its respects to a number of honorees.

Ruth’s legacy after playing baseball for 21 years, starting in 1914 and setting a number of records, “has never been eclipsed, and he remains the personification of ‘America’s Pastime.'” Ruth also helped raise funds for the American effort during World War II.

Presley “defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country, and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records,” according to the White House statement, noting he served nearly two years in the U.S. Army.

Scalia “was one of the greatest Supreme Court justices in American history,” authoring nearly 900 Supreme Court opinions.

Hatch is one of the longest-serving senators in American history. After being in office for more than 41 years, he sponsored more legislated bills than any other living member of Congress.

Dr. Adelson is a doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian who established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation with her husband and, as an American Jew, has helped support Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, and other groups.

Page played football for 15 years in the NFL before being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He obtained his law degree while playing football, and began practicing law after retiring from football, eventually securing a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court. His Page Education Foundation has provided scholarships to thousands of students.

Staubach is also a Hall-of-Fame football player who won two Super Bowls. He fought in the Vietnam War and has helped with a number of charities, including Allies in Service.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
Follow Zachary on Parler: @zackstieber