Constance Baker Motley

Introduction Constance Baker Motley hardly needs an introduction in American civil rights circles. The first African American female attorney (and only the second female attorney) to join the storied NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) in 1946 (after graduating from Columbia Law School), Motley was a legendary civil rights lawyer by the time she joined the […]

Introduction Constance Baker Motley, the first female attorney of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), was dedicated to reimagining the nature and scope of civil rights protections in American jurisprudence. Motley’s legal career chronicles the ways in which litigation served to bring about revolutionary social changes in our society. Motley, a staunch believer in the […]

Introduction In 1961, James Meredith applied for admission to the University of Mississippi. Although he was eminently qualified, he was rejected. The University had never admitted a black student, and Meredith was black. Represented by Constance Baker Motley and the NAACP Legal De­fense and Educational Fund (LDF), Meredith brought suit in the United States District […]

Mrs. Motley’s reputation has always been excellent . . . . [S]he is a woman, with great humanitarian instinct, but I have never seen it to disturb her judgment objectively and on questions of law. –U.S. Senator Jacob Javits (1966) Introduction Is justice truly blind—rendered without regard to wealth, race, sex, or other background characteristics? For centuries, that compelling […]