Federal judge Constance Baker Motley dies at 84

District Court in Manhattan Constance Baker Motley, who as a young lawyer represented Martin Luther King Jr. and played a pivotal role in the nation's civil rights struggle, has died. She was 84.

Motley died of congestive heart failure at NYU Downtown Hospital on Wednesday morning, according to her son, Joel Motley III.

Motley's early career found her fighting racism in many of the nation's landmark segregation cases. After a brief foray into politics, in 1966 she became the first black woman appointed to the federal bench and began a distinguished four-decade span as a judge.

"She's going to be missed," said Chief Judge Michael Mukasey in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Motley served. "She is a person of a kind and stature the likes of which they're not making anymore”, reports the AP. I.L.

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