Women in Law
On October 27th, the Women's Law Society of Roger Williams University School of Law will hold its annual Women in Robes event. To help celebrate, the Law Library has prepared a virtual display of titles from our collection that celebrate women jurists and attorneys. You can find the virtual display at Women in Law. Also, in this post, we highlight two female trailblazing judges from Rhode Island: Justice Florence Kerins Murray and O. Rogeriee Thompson.
Florence Kerins Murray was the first female State Senator in Rhode Island, the first female judge in Rhode Island, the first Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island, and the first female Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. She was a Rhode Island native, born in Newport in 1916. She attended Boston University Law School and graduated in 1942. She served in the Women’s Army Corp in World War II. After the war, she ran and was elected the first female State Senator in Rhode Island and served in that capacity from 1949 to 1956. She was appointed to the Rhode Island Superior Court in 1956 and appointed Chief Justice of the Superior Court in 1978. She was elected by the Rhode Island General Assembly to be an Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 1979.
O. Rogeriee Thompson is the first female African American judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Thompson was originally from South Carolina. She attended Boston University Law School and earned her Juris Doctor in 1976. She practiced law from 1976 to 1988 when she was appointed to the District Court of Rhode Island. She was elevated to the Rhode Island Superior Court in 1997. She was nominated to the First Circuit in 2009 by Barak Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2010 in a 98-0 vote.
For more information on remarkable women in the Rhode Island legal system, see the article Pushing the Bar in R.I.: 5 Women who Blazed Trails Through the Legal System.