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August 25, 2023

Article Profiles Appointments of First Black Federal Judges

ABA Journal interviewed U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie Epps about his article published in the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class.  The article profiles the first nine Black judges appointed for life to federal courts of general jurisdiction. The first occurred in 1950, three years after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers with the appointment of William H. Hastie to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Subsequent significant appointments included Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley.  As Judge Epps noted in his interview, some of these judges were known for civil rights work and experienced contentious hearings where they were accused  of being communists or “enem[ies] to democracy.” 

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