Monday Morning Message 4.11.22 A Face That Looks Like Mine.

Posted 2022-04-11 9:56am

It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.” Justice Designate Ketanji Brown Jackson

“ I’m crying happy tears because for the first time, I can look at the highest court in the country — a country I would give my life for — and see a face that looks like mine.” – 2L Stephanie Goggans, A Face That Looks Like Mine, New York Times, April 7, 2022

"She deserves this, she's worked for this, and it re-enforces this concept that if you work hard and you commit and you endure… you can rise." - 2L Stephanie Goggans, TV 3 WKYC, Cleveland Law Students See Ketanji Brown Jackson Opening Doors For Future

“We keep crossing hurdles and crossing hurdles and I think that should be a celebration for all. Not just for women and not just for women of color.” Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart ’88 , Interview, Channel 19 WOIO TV, April 8, 2022

“As a young law student, April Cherry was the first black law professor I had ever seen in person. Meeting her impacted me in immeasurable ways and directed the trajectory of my legal career. The adage is true: representation matters. Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court will certainly inspire little Black girls and women all over the world, but it will also all inspire a generation who will witness the reward of hard work and a steadfast commitment to justice and equality.” – Dean Designate Nicky Boothe, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, Orlando Sentinel, March 18, 2022

The U.S. Senate voted 53-47 on Thursday, April 7, 2022 to confirm U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jackson will become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court and the only justice with experience as a public defender. https://www.whitehouse.gov/kbj/

Judge Jackson, whose parents attended segregated schools, graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and went on to clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer during the 1999-2000 Supreme Court term.

This is a historic moment for celebration, but it also highlights that we still have a long way to go. Only 4.7 percent of lawyers are Black and just 70 Black women have ever served as a federal judge, representing fewer than 2 percent of all such judges.

Her confirmation also is a reminder that our law school has a long history of firsts. We have opened doors, shattered ceilings, and charted new paths. Below are some examples.

  • First woman Municipal Judge in the nation- Judge Mary Grossman ’12
  • First Black woman to serve as a Judge in Ohio- Judge Lillian Burke ’51
  • First woman to serve as a Judge on a Federal District Court in Ohio – Judge Ann Aldrich – former C|M|LAW Professor
  • First Black woman to serve as a Judge on a State Appeals Court in Ohio – Judge Patricia Blackmon75
  • First woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court- Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor ‘80
  • First Black woman to serve as a Judge on a Federal District Court in Ohio- Judge Benita Pearson ‘95
  • First Black woman elected as a Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court - Judge Melody Stewart ‘88
  • First Black woman to serve as Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court - Judge W. Moná Scott ’02

Each of these extraordinary women knew that if you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

They inspire all of us.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

My best,

Lee

Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
| Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

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