Profile America: Belva A. Lockwood, First Woman To Appear Before US Supreme Court



Monday, March 14 — This month in 1879 marked a milestone in women’s history and the opportunities available to them. Earlier, President Rutherford Hayes signed a congressional act “to relieve certain legal disabilities of women.” So in March, the act’s leading champion, 49-year-old Belva A. Lockwood, became the first woman to be admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, which she did in 1880. Lockwood was one of about 75 female attorneys in 1880. By 1890, there were only 208 in a national total of 89,600 lawyers. Today, there are more than 1.1 million lawyers, judges, judicial law clerks and other judicial workers, with more than 34 percent of them women.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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