H. R. 6766
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 18, 2022
Ms. DeLauro (for herself, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Torres of New York, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Meeks, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Ms. Norton, Mr. Suozzi, Ms. Scanlon, Mr. Trone, Mr. Carson, Ms. DelBene, Mr. Himes, Mr. Evans, Ms. Speier, and Ms. Meng) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services
To posthumously award a congressional gold medal to Constance Baker Motley, in recognition of her enduring contributions and service to the United States.
This Act may be cited as the
Congressional Tribute to Constance Baker Motley Act of 2022.
Congress finds the following:
Constance Baker Motley was born in 1921, in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean island of Nevis.
In 1943, Constance Baker Motley graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.
Upon receiving a law degree from Columbia University in 1946, Constance Baker Motley became a staff attorney at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (in this Act referred to as the
LDF), and fought tirelessly for 2 decades alongside Thurgood Marshall and other leading civil rights lawyers to dismantle segregation throughout the United States.
Constance Baker Motley was the only female attorney on the LDF legal team that won the landmark desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
Constance Baker Motley argued 10 major civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, winning all but one, including the case brought on behalf of James Meredith challenging the refusal of the University of Mississippi to admit him.
Constance Baker Motley’s only loss before the United States Supreme Court was in Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202 (1965), a case in which the Supreme Court refused to proscribe race-based peremptory challenges in cases involving African-American defendants, and which was later reversed in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), on grounds that were largely asserted by Constance Baker Motley in the Swain case.
In 1964, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate.
In 1965, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman, and the first woman, to serve as president of the Borough of Manhattan.
Constance Baker Motley, in her capacity as an elected public official in New York, continued to fight for civil rights, dedicating herself to the revitalization of the inner city and improvement of urban public schools and housing.
In 1966, Constance Baker Motley was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The appointment of Constance Baker Motley made her the first African-American woman, and only the fifth woman, appointed and confirmed for a Federal judgeship.
In 1982, Constance Baker Motley was elevated to Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the largest Federal trial court in the United States.
Constance Baker Motley assumed senior status in 1986, and continued serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with distinction for nearly 2 decades.
Constance Baker Motley passed away on September 28, 2005, and is survived by her son, Joel W. Motley III, 3 grandchildren, and nieces and nephews in Connecticut and in other States.
September 14, 2021, was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Constance Baker Motley.
Congressional gold medal
The President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are authorized to make appropriate arrangements for the posthumous award, on behalf of Congress, of a gold medal of appropriate design in commemoration of Constance Baker Motley, in recognition of her enduring contributions and service to the United States.
Design and striking
For the purpose of the award referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (in this Act referred to as the
Secretary) shall strike a gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.
The emblems, devices, and inscriptions determined by the Secretary shall include an image of Constance Baker Motley and an inscription of the name of Constance Baker Motley.
With respect to the award described under subsection (a), the award shall be presented to Constance Baker Motley’s son, Joel Motley III, and her niece, Constance Royster.
Disposition of medal
Following the award of the gold medal under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to Joel Motley III.
The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck under section 3, at a price sufficient to cover the cost thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses.
All medals struck under this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.