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Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Ohio governor picks running mate, 1st Black woman, as high court justice

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SOURCE: Associated Press (

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland picked the woman who ran at his side in his failed re-election bid as the next justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Yvette McGee Brown will be the first black woman to serve on the state’s highest court and the third black justice in Ohio history. She will assume the seat Jan. 1.

The Democratic governor selected McGee Brown, the former lieutenant governor candidate, to fill the vacancy created by the November election of Justice Maureen O’Connor as chief justice.

Strickland said McGee Brown, raised by a teenage mother and her grandmother, would bring an important viewpoint to the Republican-dominated court.

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Written by Symphony

December 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Law

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3 of 4 African-American judges retain seats in Jefferson

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by Jason Riley, Courier Journal

A little less than two years ago, retirements left Jefferson County with no African Americans among its 40 judges in circuit, district or family court.

Heeding a call for more diversity on the bench, Gov. Steve Beshear appointed four African Americans to fill judicial vacancies over the last year or so — and Tuesday night, three of those four choices were validated by voters.

But it certainly wasn’t easy for Circuit Court Judge Brian Edwards, in Division 11, who eked by John VanderToll, winning by only about 300 votes.

And District Judge Erica Lee Williams had an even tougher struggle with A. Christine Ward, finishing about 200 votes ahead, and leaving the normally loquacious Williams nearly speechless.

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Written by Symphony

November 11, 2010 at 9:00 am

Roderick Ireland, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court chief justice nominee, praises hometown Springfield at introduction

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by Dan Ring, The Republican

Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Thursday nominated Springfield native Roderick L. Ireland to be chief justice of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, setting the stage for him to become the first black to lead the court.

Patrick praised Ireland for being “absolutely committed to the fair administration of justice.” Patrick said Ireland is known for “his wisdom and genuine concern for each and every litigant” involved in court disputes.

Ireland, 65, said that his nomination is a great opportunity for him to continue a career in public service.

“My nomination says that anything is possible, no matter where you come from and what your background is,” Ireland said at a Statehouse press conference. “I’m proud to say I’m from the great city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield is where I learned about hard work and about education.”
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Written by Symphony

November 10, 2010 at 9:50 am

A ‘female Obama’ seeks California attorney general post

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By Michael Martinez, CNN

She’s been called “the female Obama” by some media, and the president even paid her a visit this week to help her political fortunes. Like Barack Obama, she aspires to a lot of firsts.

Kamala Harris is the daughter of a father from Jamaica and a mother from India, and she’s seeking to be the first black woman attorney general of California.

If elected, Harris would be “the first female, the first African-American, the first Asian-American attorney general in California and the first South Asian-American attorney general in the nation,” according to her campaign literature.

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Written by Symphony

October 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

After 163 Years, African-American Legal Scholar and Abolitionist George B. Vashon to Be Admitted to Pennsylvania Bar

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SOURCE: Press Release

Events on October 19–20 Set Right “Historical Injustice”

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — More than a century and a half after he was first denied admission to the Allegheny County Bar because of the color of his skin, George Boyer Vashon, an African-American legal scholar and abolitionist, will officially be admitted to the state bar by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a ceremony to be held on October 20 at 9 a.m. at the City-County Building in Pittsburgh.

In conjunction with that ceremony, national law firm Duane Morris LLP is hosting a reception on October 19 to recognize the life and career of Vashon, whose great-grandson Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., serves as the Duane Morris’ Chief Diversity Officer. Judges and members of the Pittsburgh bar will be in attendance. The reception, co-sponsored by the Allegheny County Bar Association, will be held at the Rivers Club in Pittsburgh from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It will feature notable memorabilia from Vashon’s life—including photographs and letters from the 1800s—that belong to collector and educator Calvin Riley of St. Louis, which was where Vashon’s family resided after his death. The press is invited to both events.

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Written by Symphony

October 9, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Iowa has first black female judge

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By Grant Schulte, Des Moines Register

An assistant Polk County attorney was chosen this week to become Iowa’s first female African-American judge, officials announced Friday.

Romonda Belcher-Ford, 42, was selected to fill the opening created by the retirement of Polk County District Associate Judge Joe Smith.

Belcher-Ford was nominated by a commission that screened applicants and picked three finalists. Polk County’s district judges voted her into the seat.
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Written by Symphony

August 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Law

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Md. gets 1st African-American woman appeals judge

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By Julie Bykowicz, Baltimore Sun

When she was sworn in today, Judge Michele D. Hotten became the first African-American woman to serve on the bench of any Maryland appellate court.

Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Hotten last month to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state’s second-highest court. She had been a judge for 15 years in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. A graduate of Howard University’s law school, Hotten has also served as counsel to the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission and as a county prosecutor.

“Many judges and lawyers have written to me to describe Judge Hotten as impeccably prepared, uniformly fair, and a devoted legal scholar with a truly legendary work ethic,” O’Malley said in a statement.

Hotten fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James P. Salmon.

Written by Symphony

August 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm