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Posted April 30, 2010

An Editorial from The Mid-South Tribune


 The U.S. Supreme Court has an open seat and this time, hopefully, it will open to an African American woman.

This is not to say that one chooses a Black woman candidate merely because she is a Black woman, but rather because she is also qualified. There are some extremely capable African American women judges who can take a seat on the nation’s highest court, one of whom is Judge Bernice Bouie Donald.

Judge Donald already has the distinction of being a sitting federal court judge (United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee),  which makes her a  bona fied candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first African American woman federal judge in Tennessee, which also puts her among a handful of women and African American women federal judges in the United States of America. In addition, she was the first African American woman judge in the State of Tennessee. When she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1996, Judge Donald was enthusiastically confirmed by both Democrats and Republicans.

 In 2008, the National Association of Women Judges named her the Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year. Her concern for the community can best be demonstrated by her founding an organization for at-risk children, working closely with the Memphis Literacy Council, co-chairing the Hurricane Katrina Section Task Force—and the list of these humanitarian endeavors could go on. She is highly respected among her peers and citizens alike.

For over two hundred years, women could not serve on the U.S. Supreme Court which was established in 1789—eight years before the birth of the indomitable Sojourner Truth who  in 1851 delivered her famous “Ain’t I A Woman, Too?” speech in Akron, Ohio. Though this declaration might not have been grammatically correct, it embodied a spirit that catapulted Black women on a level of respect for their womanhood, too, and was, perhaps, a presage to the U.S. Supreme Court getting its first female justice in the person of the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, its first Jewish female justice in the person of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and its first Hispanic female justice in the person of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor.

It is time for another ‘first’; it is time for the nation’s highest court to welcome its first African American female judge, and we highly recommend the Honorable Bernice Bouie Donald for this position.