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Trailblazing Judge Bernice Donald Joins 6th US Circuit Bench, Says She Stands on Others' Shoulders


Crediting those who came before her, including her parents, for her new role as the first black woman on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Bernice Donald was sworn in today at a packed ceremony in Memphis, Tenn.

“It’s wonderful to be in America, to be an American and to live in a country where anything is possible,” said Donald, 60, who credited her parents to raising her to be self-confident, take risks and enjoy life, reports the Commercial Appeal.

“My mother taught me that I’m as good as anyone else and also that I am no better than anyone else,” said Donald, whose mother also taught her that “I should never be afraid to stand alone.”

But for the work of others who came before her, the new federal appeals court judge said, she wouldn’t have gotten where she is today, reports Fox 13 News.

“I didn’t rise. I am standing on the shoulders of the men and women who worked so hard to get us to this day. So I’m climbing really on their accomplishments and I’m honored. … I honor them for their sacrifice,” Donald said. “People who cared enough to help America live up to its creed. I’m honored to be one of the point people for that day.”

Donald was serving as secretary of the American Bar Association when she was nominated by President Barack Obama last year, a White House press release notes, and she is a member of the ABA Journal’s Board of Editors.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Bernice Donald is Confirmed to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals”

Last updated 9:30 a.m. Friday to include her ABA affiliations.

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