Remembering Shirley Hufstedler.

Author:Carter, Jimmy
Position:Former Stanford Law School graduate, US Secretary of Education, US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit judge, attorney, and advocate - Testimonial
 
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When I became President, one of my top priorities was to establish the Department of Education. Prior to that time, the crucial need for an independent and viable department was obvious, as it was buried under the Department of Health and Welfare. There were long and intense debates in the U.S. Congress, and finally the new department was approved by a close vote. The selection of the first Secretary was very important to me, and after thorough consideration, my first (and only) choice was Shirley Hufstedler. I was delighted when she accepted my offer and was sworn in on December 6, 1979.

As chairman of my county's Board of Education during the civil rights days and then a state senator and governor who was deeply immersed in the subject, I was qualified to engage in long discussions with her as we planned for the official inauguration of the department on May 7, 1980. As Secretary of Education, she more than exceeded all expectations. Her personal courage and wisdom enabled her to fulfill our major goals and to ease the concerns of legislators and leaders of other federal agencies who were originally skeptical about the new department.

At the time of her appointment as Secretary of Education, Shirley was one of the country's most distinguished judges. She was only the second woman to serve as a federal appellate judge. Indeed, from her appointment by President Johnson in 1967 until my appointment of Judge Amalya Kearse to the Second Circuit in 1979...

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