Read the text of the announcement from Notre Dame here.
It appears that the Laetare Medal has been given continuously since 1883. This will be the first year since its inception that there will not be a recipient although I don't know if it has ever been refused before.
Also, it seems obvious that Fr. Jenkins was unable to find anyone to either receive the medal or would appear as a "balance" to President Obama after he vowed immediately after Glendon declined that Notre Dame would bestow the medal on someone else.
I interviewed Noonan back in 1998 on a book he wrote on religious liberty and liked him. Before Roe v. Wade he was considered a pro-life thinker and I would be interested in knowing more about the history of his convictions if anyone can feed me a few tips.