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Meet Amazing Americans Leaders & Statesmen Thurgood Marshall
Judge Marshall chats with a Kenyan leader in 1963
Judge Marshall chats with a Kenyan leader in 1963

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A Career in Law

Just the fact that the president appointed Marshall didn't mean he would get the job. According to the Constitution, federal judges must be approved by the Senate. Racism was strong in many parts of the country. Some people did not want Marshall, a black lawyer who had been a leader in the civil rights movement, to become a judge. Some senators held up his appointment for almost a year. Finally, in 1962, the Senate gave its approval and Marshall became a federal judge.

Marshall was very good at his job, but, as Marshall said, "Once you get to become a judge, you want to get on the Supreme Court."

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