1979: The Year Women Changed the Judiciary
In 1979, the number of women serving as federal judges more than doubled. In this series, learn more about the trailblazers who reshaped the Judiciary.
Published onAugust 21, 2019
In 1979, Mary Murphy Schroeder joined a historic class of women judges who transformed the federal Judiciary, but her law career nearly ended before it began. The night before her first final law exam at the University of Chicago, Schroeder collapsed and was hospitalized with a severe kidney infection.
Published onAugust 14, 2019
In 1979, 23 women were appointed to the federal bench—more than doubling the number of women appointed to life-tenured judgeships in the previous 190 year history of the United States. The doors they opened never swung shut again. Forty years later, women make up one-third of the courts’ full-time, active Article III judges.