Elena Kagan owes Belva Lockwood

Belva Lockwood. (Photo from Library of Congress)

Belva Lockwood (Photo from Library of Congress)

If Kagan’s nomination is accepted, she will be the fourth woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. Her nomination was made possible by the trail blazed—with tremendous determination—by Lockwood.

Lockwood was the daughter of farmers, a widowed mother, and a wife who financially supported her ailing husband. She attended college after the death of her first husband, and eventually ended up in Washington, DC, where she received her law degree, taking it from the hands of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Lockwood had a long career in law in the capitol, running her own practice and trying criminal cases and handling divorces, but she also ran twice as the presidential candidate for the Equal Rights Party (Hillary Clinton owes Belva Lockwood too). Although Lockwood could not vote, she reasoned there was nothing to stop men from voting for her.

The full story of Lockwood’s life and career accomplishments is featured in this article in Prologue magazine.

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