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March 16, 2008

Women and Justice...

Today is the birthday of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only current female U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1993-present).

When people think about the history of female political pioneers, they usually just think of suffragists. We thought we'd bring your attention to some other women who were trailblazers in U.S. politics and law. Women are still under-represented, but we have come a long way...

  • Sandra Day O'Connor - the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice. (There have been a whopping total of TWO female Supreme Court Justices since the court was established in 1789 - O'Connor and Ginsburg).

  • Florence Allen - the first woman to serve on a U.S. court of appeals (Sixth Circuit, 1934).

  • Burnita Shelton Matthews - the first woman to serve on a U.S. district court (District of Columbia, 1949).

  • Jane Bolin - the first black female judge in the U.S. She was also the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School and the first black person to serve as an assistant corporation counsel in New York City.

  • Arabella Mansfield - the first female lawyer.

  • Ada H. Kepely - first female lawyer to graduate from a law school (Union College of Law in Chicago).

  • Phoebe Couzins - the first female U.S. marshal (1887). She was also Washington University's first female law graduate and helped found the National Woman Suffrage Association.

  • Rebecca Felton - the first female senator (Georgia). She was appointed to fill a temporary vacancy and served for only two days.

  • Hattie Caraway - the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate (Arkansas).

  • Shirley Chisholm - the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives (New York, 1968).

  • Patsy Mink - the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress (House of Representatives, Hawaii).

  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen - the first Hispanic woman elected to congress (House of Representatives, Florida).

  • Carol Moseley-Braun - the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate (Illinois).

  • Frances Perkins - the first female Cabinet member (secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt).

  • Patricia Roberts Harris - the first black woman in a presidential Cabinet (secretary of housing and urban development).

  • Nancy Pelosi - the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Belva Ann Lockwood - the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Susanna Salter - the first woman elected mayor of an American town (Argonia, Kansas).

  • Nellie Tayloe Ross - the first woman to serve as governor of a state (Wyoming).

  • Sharon Dixon - the first black woman to serve as major of a major city (Washington, DC).

  • Janet Reno - the first female U.S. Attorney General.

  • Madeleine Albright - the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

  • Condoleezza Rice - the first black female Secretary of State.

  • Victoria Woodhull - the first female presidential candidate (nominated by the National Radical Reformers).

  • Margaret Chase Smith - the first woman nominated for president by a major political party (Republican).

  • Geraldine Ferraro - the first woman to run vice-president under a major party (Democrat).

  • Hillary Clinton - the first woman in U.S. history to win a presidential primary contest (New Hampshire). Also, the first former First Lady ever elected to national office (U.S. Senate).


Eme said...

While the Constitution set out the conceptual framework for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1776, the Judiciary Act of 1789 provided more explicit direction of how the institution would work. In addition the Court first convened in 1790.

All of this to correct a typo! It was 1789 (or 1776 or 1790 depending on how you define it)that the U.S. Supreme Court was formed--not 1978 :-)



We defined 'formed' by the date the first Supreme Court justice, John Jay, was sworn in and began his duties, so we meant to type 1789 not 1978!

So yes, that was a typo. Sometimes my fingers go faster than my brain! The ESC never said we were perfect.

Thanks for pointing that out, we corrected it.