August 30, 1967 – Thurgood Marshall Confirmed As the First African-American Supreme Court Justice

On this day in history, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as an Associate Justice by a Senate vote of 69–11. He was the 96th person to hold the position, and the first African American. He had been nominated to that office on June 13, 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Thurgood Marshall in the Oval Office, 1967

Thurgood Marshall in the Oval Office, 1967

Marshall served on the Court for the next 24 years, compiling a liberal record that included strong support for Constitutional protection of individual rights, especially the rights of criminal suspects against the government.

Among his many law clerks were attorneys who went on to become judges themselves, such as Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Ralph Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan; as well as notable law professors and law school deans.

One former clerk of Marshall’s, Stephen Carter, who went on to become a law professor at Yale Law School, spoke in this short video about how Marshall would never say a bad word about anyone, even about his segregationist opponents.

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