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Trailblazing judge Constance Motley dies

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NEW YORK, Sep 29, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- The first black woman named to the U.S. federal bench, Judge Constance Baker Motley has died in New York from a heart condition at the age of 84.

She died Sept. 21 of congestive heart failure at New York University Downtown Hospital, although her family did not make it known until Thursday.

Motley's career began as a clerk for the NAACP, and saw her rise to become the first black woman in the New York State Senate and the first woman to be Manhattan borough president. President Lyndon Baines Johnson named her to the federal bench in 1966.

Motley was part of the team that argued the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation case, and won nine of the 10 cases she personally argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Daily News said.

Motley is survived by her husband Joel Motley, son Joel Jr., and his family.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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