LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The first justices on the US Supreme Court were nominated in the year 1789. More than 100 have sat on the bench in the past 230 years.
With the impending retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, a new justice is poised to join Supreme Court.
If President Joe Biden fulfills his pledge to nominate a Black woman to the nation's highest court, she would be a pioneer on the bench.
"It's a move that certainly underscores not only the historic lack of diversity on the highest court but also just how much Black women have been underrepresented dramatically in the federal judiciary," said Judge Pamela Goodwine.
Judge Goodwine is a trailblazer herself. In 1999, she became the first African-American woman in the Fayette County judiciary.
Now she serves on the Kentucky Court of Appeals and feels that she brings a unique perspective based on her own life experience.
"Black women who are in the workplace may have the perspective of what it means to be raised in an inner-city, such as myself. I grew up in the inner city, I grew up poor. Some may have the experience of growing up on welfare, working their way out of the welfare system," said Goodwine.
She's paying close attention to the list of names being floated out as possible nominees. Goodwine says all come with extraordinary qualifications and integrity.
She says any criticism of Biden's pledge being affirmative action is merely a distraction.
"Our former president (Donald Trump) vowed to name and nominate a woman to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and he did that with Amy Coney Barrett. We didn't have this discussion then. We didn't have this argument. So why now? Again, I think it's a distraction," said Goodwine.
Goodwine's career was inspired by US Supreme Court milestones when she was younger, such as the appointment of the first African-American justice in 1967 and the first female justice in 1981.
"I was seven when Justice Thurgood Marshall was nominated to the Supreme Court. And 21 (years old) when Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court. Those were very impressionable times in my life and helped me understand that I too, could become the first. And I did," said Goodwine.
As she watches Washington with interest, Goodwine thinks about her own ambition.
"My goal is to ascend the Kentucky judicial hierarchy. And I'm now on the Court of Appeals. So yes, I intend to be the first African-American on the Kentucky Supreme Court one day," said Goodwine.