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Sarah T. Hughes
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    (August 2, 1896-April 23, 1985)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    Birth name was Sarah Tilghman
    Served in the Texas House of Representatives (1931-35)
    Judge for the Texas 14th District Court (1935-60)
    Federal District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas (1961-85)
    Administered the Oath of Office to Lyndon B. Johnson on Air Force One (November 22, 1963)
    Wrote the District Court opinion overturning Texas abortion laws in Roe v. Wade (1970)
    Ruling upheld by the US Supreme Court (1973)
    At 5'1, she was described by classmates as 'small but terrible.'
    When she and her husband moved to Dallas, no law firm would hire her until she agreed to work as a receptionist as well as an attorney.
    She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives (1946).
    Her appointment to the Federal judiciary was opposed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the American Bar Association because of her age (65).
    She got her friends Senator Ralph Yarborough and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn to pull some strings to convince JFK to appoint her.
    While attending George Washington University Law School at night, she worked in the day as a District of Columbia police officer.
    She commuted from her house to GWU by canoing down the Potomac.
    She helped establish Dallas' first juvenile detention center (1950).
    She said about the obstacles she faced as a woman in the legal profession, 'It all depends on whether you're willing to work hard enough to get what you want, not what stands in your way.'
    She was the first woman to swear in a US President.

Credit: C. Fishel

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