Tuesday, August 30th.  On this date 50 years ago, the federal court system received its first African-American female judge.

Constance Baker Motley was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and took her seat on the federal bench in the Southern District of New York.

She served until her death in 1986, by which point she had been Chief Judge of the district for four years. Motley, a graduate of Columbia Law School, had clerked for Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP, and in the early 1960’s became the first black female elected to the New York Senate.

More than 64,000 people serve in the U.S. as judges, magistrates or other judicial workers.  Some 28,000 are women.  Among the 860 authorized federal judgeships, 43 are held by black women

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