Seiden Law honors Constance Baker Motley for Black History Month

Feb 8, 2023

Seiden Law is celebrating Black History Month by honoring an African American who has significantly influenced the legal profession and community. This month, the firm reflects on the contributions made by Constance Baker Motley, the first African American female District court judge.

Motley received her undergraduate degree from New York University and her law degree from Columbia Law School. After graduating from Columbia in 1946, she continued her pre-graduation work at the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) with Thurgood Marshal. For the next 18 years, Motley continued her work, including nine triumphs in civil rights cases before the United States Supreme Court.

Following her work at the NAACP, Motley served as a trailblazer for African American women and a dedicated advocate for women’s rights as judge and politician. She first served in the New York State Senate for two years as the first African American woman to sit in the State Senate. In 1965, during her time as the Manhattan Borough President, the first women in that role, Motley devised a plan to improve the inner city.

In 1966, President. Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Motley to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, making her the first African American woman to be appointed to a federal judgeship. Despite opposition to her appointment, Motley was confirmed as a federal judge after a seven-month delay. She continued her career with her notable contributions in Blank v. Sullivan & CromwellBelknap v. Leary, Mullarkey v. Borglum, and Ludtke v. Kuhn, among others.

Motley served to uplift disadvantaged communities during her career and left a deep mark in the U.S. law profession and community, an impact Seiden Law reflects on and hopes to emulate in its pursuit of justice for the same.


Olivia Johann
Business Development Lead
(646) 766-1704 [email protected]