It's been said that had former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) not become ill, former president Bill Clinton would have picked her to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
It would have been one hell of a pick:
Jordan was born in Houston’s Fifth Ward to Rev. Benjamin M. Jordan and Arlyne (Patton) Jordan.
Jordan attended Wheatley High School Houston, where one of the nation’s few African-American female attorneys, Edith S. Sampson, spoke and inspired Jordan to become a lawyer. This was a difficult ambition at the time, because only one law school in Texas admitted African-Americans.With the support of her father, Jordan graduated magna cum laude from Texas Southern University in 1956 and from Boston University Law School in 1959. She passed the bar exams in Massachusetts and Texas before returning to Houston to open a law practice, only the third African-American woman to be licensed in Texas.
Jordan campaigned for the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and 1964.Her persistence won her a seat in the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first African American state senator since 1883 and the first black woman to serve in that body. Re-elected to a full term in the Texas Senate in 1968, she served until 1972. She was the first African-American female to serve as president pro tem of the state senate and served for one day as acting governor of Texas in 1972.
In 1972, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first black woman from a Southern state to serve in the House. She received extensive support from former President Lyndon Johnson, who helped her secure a position on the House Judiciary Committee. In 1974, she made an influential, televised speech before the House Judiciary Committee supporting the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.