The name Constance Baker Motley was invoked numerous times throughout the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Judge Jackson invoked Judge Motley in her nomination speech and throughout her testimony; Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) invoked her memory during his questioning (that was less questioning than enthusiastic testifying) of Judge Jackson; Judge Motley's son has been a regular presence doing commentary on the proceedings on cable news. Before this, during her presidential campaign in 2019, Vice President Kamala Harris also regularly invoked Judge Motley as an inspiration for her own legal career. This is all especially fitting, as the most thorough biography of Judge Motley to date, written by a Harvard Law professor, was published just months ago.Constance Baker Motley was incredibly consequential in the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, and yet her name is hardly as well-known as many of her colleagues and contemporaries.Constance Baker was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1921 to immigrants from the Caribbean. Her mother waa domestic worker and community activist who founded the New Haven chapter of the NAACP; her father worked as a chef at Yale University.While in high school during the 1930s, Baker spent time in various youth organizations that focused on social justice issues. Throughout this period, Baker was a contemporary of various leftist and communist groups; though she didn't identify with these groups herself, Baker's friendship with leftists and communists became a point of controversy later in life.Baker's interest in Black history and the law came about due to a particularly influential minister she met in her teens. She was also inspired by the writings of James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B. DuBois.Baker attended Fisk University, a historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee, for a year, but, according to her biographer, didn't enjoy the experience of being at an HBCU. She transferred to New York University, where she earned a degree in economics in 1943. She then pursued a law degree from Columbia University; one of her classmates and friends was future Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY). She earned her law degree in 1946.In 1946, she married Joel Motley, Jr. Every biography of Baker, now Motley (I will refer to her as Baker Motley going forward) notes how incredibly close the couple's marriage was.Baker was hired by Thurgood Marshall to work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; she was the organization's first female attorney.While working for the LDF, Baker Motley worked on some of the most high-profile cases of the civil rights movement. She represented Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Freedom Riders; and the Birmingham Children's Marchers. She represented James Meredith in his battle to desegregate the University of Mississippi, as well as the plaintiffs several less-famous battles to desegregate other public universities in the south. She worked alongside Medgar Evers in Mississippi. She did much of the research work in the legal fight behind Brown v. Broad of Education, though she was not a part of the team presenting the case before the Supreme Court. Throughout all of these cases, she was usually the only woman on the legal term.Baker Motley herself argued ten cases before the Supreme Court; she was the first Black woman to argue before the Court. She was successful in nine of the ten, and the tenth would eventually be overturned in her favor.Baker Motley was a unique figure in the various factions of the civil rights movement. She was personally and professionally close to Thurgood Marshall, who represented the caucus of activists who argued for desegregation by court fights. Initially skeptical of Martin Luther King, Jr., she was incredibly impressed by him in their interactions and came to view him as an extraordinary leader and was in turn admired by him. (Marshall and King were comparatively more skeptical of each other.) In 1961, Baker Motley and Malcolm X encountered one another in a televised appearance; their exchanges were tense, but Baker Motley still viewed Malcolm X as an important figure in the movement.In 1961, Thurgood Marshall was named to the federal bench and was forced to stepped down from the LDF. Baker Motley, who had worked for the organization for 15 years, was considered Marshall's most likely successor. She was passed over in favor of a white man, which arose ire in much of the civil rights community. (Biographers have suggested Marshall may have knee-capped her in the process.) She remained on staff at the LDF for three years, but began looking for opportunities outside the organization.Baker Motley enjoyed a brief but successful career in electoral politics. In February 1964, Baker Motley was elected to the New York state senate. She was the first Black woman to serve in the state senate. Future Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) was Baker Motley's counterpart in the state assembly. She was reelected in November 1964. She resigned a few months later, though, for another elected position. In February 1965, Baker Motley was elected as the first woman to serve as Manhattan Borough President; she was elected to fill the rest of a term, but was elected to a full term in November 1965. Again, this elected role was brief; she was on a shortlist for a federal judgeship.In January 1966, Baker Motley was nominated to serve on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Baker Motley's confirmation battle was echoed in Judge Jackson's hearings this week. Sen. James Eastland (D-MS), the viciously racist segregationist, served as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From that perch, he delayed her confirmation process for seven months. When she eventually came before the committee, he viciously attacked her, claiming she had been a communist and attacking her record and temperament. Eastland's efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. She was confirmed by the Senate in August 1966, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge.Baker Motley served on the court from 1966 to 1986; she served as Chief Judge of the court from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, she assumed senior status, which meant she still heard cases, but at a reduced workload.Baker Motley oversaw several significant cases. In Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell, she oversaw a decision that sought to rectify gender discrimination in law firms. In Belknap v. Leary, she criticized the NYPD for not protecting Vietnam War protestors from violence. In Ludtke v. Kuhn, she ruled that Melissa Ludtke be allowed into a Major League Baseball locker room.Still, Baker Motley was absolutely not a pushover when it came to discrimination cases. She had a high bar in determining what constituted genuine discrimination, in both sex-related cases and race-related cases. Occasionally, this put her at odds with communities she had previously championed.Baker Motley's perspective on gender equity sometimes seemed incongruous with her perspective on other issues. She didn't consider herself aligned with the feminist movement, for example.Baker Motley was on at least two shortlists for Supreme Court nominations, during the Nixon and Ford administrations. She received a fair amount of media coverage for this, though one has a hard time imagining either Nixon or Ford would have seriously considered appointing a Black woman to the court.Constance Baker Motley died in 2005 at age 84.Constance Baker Motley was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. There have been at least resolutions for her to receive a Congressional Gold Medal, in 2006 and 2022.
If I were to give my child a virtue name, which I am not a fan of generally, this would probably be it.
I really like this name very much! It's really beautiful when it's pronounced or written and it's so eye-catching! Love the -nce ending.
Virtue names tend to captivate me. Constance is a graceful name that invokes strength without sounding masculine. The nickname Connie is so pleasant, but most of the time I'd prefer to hear the full name.
This name makes me picture someone who's wearing a pinafore, cooking apple pie for dinner by the hearth. When dinner is over, she sits by me at the fireplace and covers me with a blanket. I'm not picturing a kid, but sometimes the old-fashioned names are the best. I asked my dad if he liked the name, and he said, "yes, it has a good sound to it. Like CONNNNNN-staaaance!". When he said that, I felt so warm and cozy. Therefore, I love this name. Stick to the nickname Connie when your daughter is in first grade or below. Constance may sound too grown-up on her.
Constance Blackwood is a major character, and the older sister of main character Mary Katherine in Shirley Jackson’s novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. She is shown to be a kind, if naive, young woman. She is incredibly close to her sister, and struggles with agoraphobia. Alexandra Daddario portrays Constance in the 2018 film adaptation.
Constance Courte, a character in the video game Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies. She is a teacher at Themis Academy and teaches the Judge course.
Absolutely gorgeous :)
Constance Sutton Titus (August 14, 1873 – August 24, 1967) was a male American rower who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics. In 1904 he won the bronze medal in the single sculls.
It's strong, but feminine names can be strong. Because we don't discriminate with gender, right?
I actually kind of like this name. It sounds so pretty and friendly and reminds me of summer for some reason. Dunno why people think it sounds like "constipation".
Constance von Nuvelle is a member of the Ashen Wolves, first seen in the forth DLC pack for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. She is usually haughty and confident, but when she is exposed to the sun, she acts more reserved and puts herself down. Her friend Hapi nicknames her Coco (Connie in Japanese).
Tansy could be a nickname for Constance.
I don't really like this name, but it is probably the best virtue name.
I really like this name, it sounds elegant but real. It makes me think of someone who always does the right thing, but maybe is a little annoying too.
There is a character in the middle grade book series Mysterious Benedict Society named Constance Contraire. She’s obstinate, cantankerous and rude, and often writes long, annoying rhyming poems about various things happening and her opinions on them.
This is my absolute favourite name- I'm gonna name my future daughter this. Connie is just gorgeous.
Constance Hatchaway is one of the names given to the bride on Disney's Haunted Mansion ride.
I don't like this name. It sounds strict.
I used to dislike this name but now I LOVE IT! Something about the “nce “ at the end of a name is just gorgeous. Constance is elegant and fiery, someone to be reckoned with. I don’t much care for “Connie” though.
In the Benedict Society book series one of the main characters was named Constance.
Lots of people don't like it, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name Constance. It makes me think of love, peace, friendship, joy and laughter. I don't know how anyone could not like Constance. A personality to fit it would be quiet, pretty and popular. But with a short name funny, kind and smiley.
One of my best friends is called Constance. We call her Connie for short. I LOVE both of these names. My best friend is pretty and funny and kind-hearted. Now I associate Constance and Connie with these virtues.
Constance Hall is a reality TV personality from SyFy’s “Monster Man”.
I like the name because of the actress Constance Towers, who is a beautiful, gracious, and elegant woman, so I associate those characteristics with the name.
Constance Tianming Wu is an American actress. She began her career in the theater, before her breakthrough role as Jessica Huang in the ABC comedy series Fresh Off the Boat. Wu was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, in a Taiwanese family. She graduated from Douglas S. Freeman High School, where she began performing in local theater at Henrico Teen Theater, HATTheatre, Theatre IV, Virginia Shakespeare Festival as well as an NYU program for six months during high school at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Constance Yu-Hwa Chung Povich, known as Connie Chung, is an American journalist. She has been an anchor and reporter for the U.S. television news networks NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Some of her more famous interview subjects include Claus von Bülow and U.S. Representative Gary Condit, whom Chung interviewed first after the Chandra Levy disappearance, and basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson after he went public about being HIV-positive. In 1993, she became only the second female to co-anchor a network newscast as part of CBS Evening News. She was removed in 1995 as CBS Evening News co-anchor after a controversial interview with a fireman, during rescue efforts at the Oklahoma City bombing, which seemed inappropriately combative and her interview tactics to get Newt Gingrich's mother to admit her unguarded thoughts about Hillary Clinton.
Constance Jablonski is a French model. In 2006, she entered the French Elite Model Look Contest. As of 2010, she became one of the newer faces of Estée Lauder alongside Liu Wen and Joan Smalls.
This is my mom's name. She goes by Connie because it's a long name.
Sounds like constipated, lol.
The name Constance was given to 142 girls born in the US in 2015.
Constance Jablonski is a French model. In 2006, she entered the French Elite Model Look Contest. As of 2010, she became one of the newer faces of Estée Lauder alongside Liu Wen and Joan Smalls.
Constance Zimmer is a famous actress. She plays on Good Morning, Miami and Constance Marie plays Angie on George Lopez.
I like the name but then it is my name. I'am 58 years old and in the 6th grade we had 3 Constance's in my class with two of us having the same last initials so I always had to write my first and last name on all my papers. I have never gone by a nickname and was always told my name meant forever faithful, never-ending, steadfast. It is a strong name for a strong woman.
Constance Markievicz was an Irish revolutionary socialist and the first woman elected to the House of Commons.
Constance Langdon is a character on the first season of "American Horror Story."
The name Constance was given to 103 baby girls born in the U.S. in 2013.
Constance Campbell Bennett (Born: October 22, 1904, Died: July 24, 1965) was an American actress.
I really like this name. It's pretty and has a good meaning. But I hate the nickname Connie-it feels old-lady and boring.
At first, I thought this name was kinda weird as it reminded me of a "constable" (a police officer) but after saying it some more times, I've now gotten over that and like the name Constance. :)
Constance has always been my favorite girl name and I plan on naming my first born daughter this name. It's such a beautiful, strong name. And it works on a child as well as a strong, independent and confident young woman. I first heard the name in the mini-series "North and South" on the character Constance Flynn Hazard (who I must admit was my favorite character) and I absolutely adored it ever since!
Rather than lack of change, I think it is supposed to connote loyalty, steadiness and dependability.
Doesn't the word Constance mean a lack of change? Why is that something you would want to name your daughter? Isn't change healthy?
The name Constance was given to 161 baby girls born in the US in 2012 :)
I actually really like this, it's so unique! I've always wondered where the nickname Connie came from. But honestly, I prefer the full name Constance.
Actress Constance Talmadge (1898-1973).
Constance (1124-1176) was the daughter of King Louis VI of France and his wife Adelaide.
Constance (1078-1124) was the daughter of King Philippe I of France and his wife Bertha.
Constance was the daughter of King Robert II of France and his wife Constance of Provence.
Constance Kent (1844-1944) was an English criminal who confessed to killing her younger half-brother. After a highly publicized trial, she went to prison for 21 years, after which she emigrated to Australia. I like the name despite this negative association.
I love the name Constance. I guess because my name is Constance... but yeah I love it because I can go a hundred places and probably only find like one person with my name... well our name :D I love the name, it's awesome.
Constance Frances Marie Ockelman was the birth name of American actress Veronica Lake.
German forms of this name: Constanze and Konstanze. [noted -ed]
On the movie "Monster House", Mr. Nebbercracker's late wife was called Constance.
Pronounced like "KAWN-STANS".
What a cool name. Reminds me of a beautiful, coldhearted woman.
This name has always appealed to me. So classy. I might give it as a middle name.
I love the name Constance since I was 15. It is absolutely beautiful.
There was an extremely rude girl in my class once named Constance, so she sort of turned me off this name. Also, I prefer the form Constanza better.
As a child, I grew up with the 1993 movie "The Three Musketeers" (with Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Tim Curry, among many others), and it's still one of my favorite movies today. And ever since I first saw the movie, when I was -- 5 years old? -- I have loved the name Constance. Always have, always will. I think it goes particularly nice with Heather.
I personally love this classic sounding name, but like others have said I really cannot stand Connie. I would prefer the nickname Stanzie, or just not use a nickname at all.
Actress Jodie Foster's older sister, also an actress of the 70s, was named Constance Foster with the nickname "Connie".
Constance Hopkins Snow (1607-1677) was a passenger on the Mayflower, the fourteen year old daughter of Stephen Hopkins. She married Nicholas Snow as an adult. Her life from the age of fourteen to twenty was told (partly fictitiously) in journal form in the book 'Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth,' by Patricia Clapp, one of my favorite books as a preteen.
My mom's name is Constance and her nickname is Connie. She always signed down on paper as 'Constance'. When I was a little kid I thought it was 'Constant'. I used not to like the name because I thought it was a word, but then now I really like the look and sound of it. Not a lot of Constances are out there.
Constance Marie plays Angie Lopez on my fav comedy George Lopez!
Constance Rudert of the German bands Cinderella Effect and Blutengel. It is a very beautiful and sophisticated name.
Constance of Hungary (c. 1180, Podklášteří - 6th December 1240) was the second Queen consort of Přemysl I. Otakar of Bohemia. She was a daughter of Béla III of Hungary and his first wife Ágnes de Châtillon. Her older siblings included Imrich of Hungary, Margita of Hungary and András II of Hungary.
I don't get why people immediately bring up 'constipation' and how this name makes them think about constipation. Oh sure, the name can remind you of the word 'constipation'. But it can remind you of words like 'constitution', 'construction', and, most likely and obviously. CONSTANCE! I mean, it does sound far nicer than some silly names that some people have actually used on their poor kids like Eternity. The name's a bit old-fashioned, and I hate the nickname Connie, but it's far from tacky, trashy, or immature. I picture the name on a rather pale woman with dark eyes and long, dark curls.
Constance Bonacieux (sp?) was the name of D'Artagnan's love in The Three Musketeers.
The main charater in Deeane Gist's novel A Bride Most Begrudging is named Constance.
Constance is my name I've always hated having pet names and especially hate being called Connie. I feel proud to have it as my name, it's so strong and determined to me. I don't know why my parents called me this since I'm half German and half Irish. I haven't always liked my name and even consider changing it but now I feel as if my name is me. If that's understandable.
I don't know why, but I think of this name as cute. It's a cute name, not frilly like other names, but it's steadfast like the name means.
It's a very good name, but all the Constances I know go by Connie, which isn't as good.
Constance´s pet forms are Connie, Stanka, Consta, Constatia.
My given name is Constance but I use the name Connie. Have always disliked Constance but as I get a little older I am more accepting of my birth name.
I can't get past the similarity of this name and the word constipation.
Constance is the first name of Miss Hardbroom in the Worst Witch.
Constance M. Burge is the creator of CHARMED. The best show in the world!
Constance is the name of a character from The Three Musketeers.
This is a pretty name.
This is my baby sister's name and I simply love it. It's Kawiia (Cute) and Different. I simply love it and wouldn't mind that name. My sister was born in 2006 so it's a rather uncommon name now but I still simply love it! :)
My name is Constance, and because of the fact that I am a self-proclaimed "math nerd," I enjoy the resemblance the name sounds to "constants," a term used in algebra.
Constance in Latin means "Consecrated".
I find the name cold and aloof. I am also reminded of constipation.
Constance was Veronica Lake's real name.
Wendy Kilbourne's character on North and South (1985) is Constance Flynn Hazard. That's where I first heard of the name Constance and I love it! =)
I am an original Constance. Born in the 1970's, my daddy named me so that I would have a strong, unforgetable name. It looks great on paper too! lol
Constance Mackenzie is a character in the novel Peyton Place.
I like this name a lot! I think of a strong and determined woman when I hear this name.
Also the name of Oscar Wilde's wife.
Constance! So unusual, so uncommon, so cool!
D.H. Lawrence's infamous Lady Chatterly's first name was Constance.

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