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  • Writer's pictureAli Assareh

Today in Legal History: First Female U.S. Judge (August 17, in 1870)

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Today, August 17, in 1870, Esther Morris became the first woman magistrate in America when she was appointed Justice of the Peace for South Pass City, Wyoming.

Wyoming has a fascinating history: It was also the first place in the world to recognize women’s right to vote (in the modern universal suffrage sense) and to hold public office, in 1869.

Of course, during the same period, vast swaths of the population weren’t even counted or treated as equal; but this story shows the power of law to drive forward change: A Wyoming legislature made entirely of men passed the women’s suffrage bill.

I wish for law and lawyers to help drive forward change; not to help resist it.

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