Text: S.2235 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (02/01/2006)

2d Session
S. 2235

To posthumously award a congressional gold medal to Constance Baker Motley.


February 1, 2006

Mr. Schumer (for himself, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Bayh, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Obama, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Salazar, Mr. Durbin, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. DeWine, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Levin, Mr. Lieberman, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mr. Dayton) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs


To posthumously award a congressional gold medal to Constance Baker Motley.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Congressional Tribute to Constance Baker Motley Act of 2006”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds as follows:

(1) Constance Baker Motley was born in 1921, in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean island of Nevis.

(2) In 1943, Constance Baker Motley graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

(3) 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., and fought tirelessly for 2 decades alongside Thurgood Marshall and other leading civil rights lawyers to dismantle segregation throughout the country.

(4) Constance Baker Motley was the only female attorney on the legal team that won the landmark desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education.

(5) 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 University of Mississippi’s refusal to admit him.

(6) Constance Baker Motley’s only loss before the United States Supreme Court was in Swain v. Alabama, a case in which the Court refused to proscribe race-based peremptory challenges in cases involving African-American defendants, and which was later reversed in Batson v. Kentucky on grounds that had been largely asserted by Constance Baker Motley in the Swain case.

(7) In 1964, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate.

(8) In 1965, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman, and the first woman, to serve as president of the Borough of Manhattan.

(9) 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.

(10) In 1966, Constance Baker Motley was appointed by President Johnson as a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York.

(11) 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.

(12) 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.

(13) Constance Baker Motley assumed senior status in 1986, and continued serving with distinction for nearly 2 decades.

(14) Constance Baker Motley passed away on September 28, 2005, and is survived by her husband Joel Wilson Motley Jr., their son, Joel Motley III, her 3 grandchildren, her brother, Edmund Baker of Florida, and her sisters Edna Carnegie, Eunice Royster, and Marian Green, of New Haven, Connecticut.

SEC. 3. Congressional gold medal.

(a) Presentation authorized.—The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are authorized to make appropriate arrangements for the posthumous presentation, 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.

(b) Design and striking.—For the purpose of the presentation 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.

SEC. 4. Duplicate medals.

Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, 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, and the cost of the gold medal.

SEC. 5. Status as national medals.

(a) National medal.—The medal struck under this Act is a national medal for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

(b) Numismatic items.—For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, United States Code, all duplicate medals struck under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.

SEC. 6. Authority to use fund amounts; Proceeds of sale.

(a) Authority to use fund amounts.—There are authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, such sums as may be necessary to pay for the cost of the medals struck under this Act.

(b) Proceeds of sale.—Amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals under section 4 shall be deposited in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.