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America mourns first black female New York judge

America mourns first black female New York judge

Women's rights

Tributes were on Thursday paid to Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Muslim judge in the United States, and first black woman to serve on New York’s highest court.

Abdus-Salaam was found dead on the banks of the Hudson River in New York, police said.

She was discovered fully clothed on the Manhattan side of the river on Wednesday, a mile from her central Harlem home,a day after she was reported missing by her husband.

She was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all.

According to the police, her body showed no obvious signs of trauma or injuries indicating a foul play.
No cause of death has been announced.

There were no signs a crime had been committed in her death, a police spokesman said on Thursday, adding that medical examiners are planning an autopsy.

The 65-year-old was the first African-American woman to serve on New York’s highest court and was also an associate judge of the Court of Appeals.

New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said he was proud to have appointed her to the state’s highest court, adding he was “deeply saddened by her passing.”

“She was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all,” he added.

According to the Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History, she was the first Muslim woman to serve as a US judge.

Born in Washington, DC, she graduated from Columbia Law School and began her career in law working at East Brooklyn Legal Services as a staff lawyer.

She rose through the ranks and was elected to the Supreme Court in 1993.