Copyright (c) 2003 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
ARTICLE: CARTER'S GROUNDBREAKING APPOINTMENT OF WOMEN TO THE FEDERAL BENCH: HIS OTHER "HUMAN RIGHTS" RECORD
11 Am. U.J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 1131
Mary L. Clark*
Introduction: Carter's Pathbreaking Achievement
Jimmy Carter's leadership on global human rights issues has recently been recognized with the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. 1 What has not been sufficiently recognized is his trailblazing leadership in appointing significant numbers of women to the federal bench - naming five times as many women as all of his predecessors combined. 2 Carter's groundbreaking appointment of women judges was motivated by his commitment to women's equality as a human right and was achieved through substantial reliance on merit selection and affirmative action principles. 3
Prior to Carter's term in office, a total of eight women had been confirmed to Article III judgeships. 4 They were: 5
|1||Florence Ellinwood Allen||6th Cir.||Roosevelt||1934|
|2||Burnita Shelton Matthews||D.D.C.||Truman||1949|
|3||Sarah Tilghman Hughes||N.D. Tex.||Kennedy||1962|
|4||Constance Baker Motley||S.D.N.Y.||Johnson||1966|
|5||June Lazenby Green||D.D.C.||Johnson||1968|
|6||Shirley Mount Hufstedler||9th Cir.||Johnson||1968|
|7||Cornelia Kennedy||D. Mich.||Nixon||1970|
|8||Mary Anne Richey||D. Ariz.||Ford||1976|
Only one woman served among ninety-seven judges on the federal courts of appeal and five women among nearly 400 district court judges when Carter took office in January 1977. 6 By the time he left office in January, 1981, Carter had appointed forty women to Article III courts of general jurisdiction; 7 eleven at the appeals court level and twenty-nine at the district court.
Carter's appointment of forty women constituted a clear break ...
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