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Honoring Justice Thurgood Marshall

Posted April 14, 2003

Towering 567 feet above the streets of New York City's Civic Center area in Lower Manhattan is the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse. This historic building is a fitting tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.

The Ceremony

On April 14, 2003, this building on the National Register of Historic Places was officially renamed in a dedication ceremony attended by many distinguished public figures. The master of ceremonies was Chief Judge John M. Walker with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. GSA’s Regional Administrator Karl H. Reichelt welcomed the guests and speakers. Included among the guests were many members of Justice Marshall’s family. Remarks were presented by Mrs. Thurgood Marshall, Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, GSA’s Administrator Stephen A. Perry, U.S. Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), U.S. Representative Jerrold L. Nadler (D-NY), U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, and Judge Ralph K. Winter with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Public Law 107-33, signed by President Bush on August 20, 2001, concluded the legislative process to name the building after Thurgood Marshall. Congressman Engel from New York’s 17th district originally introduced the legislation.

The Courthouse

The Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse opened in 1936. Today it houses the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It presently contains 23 courtrooms and 45 judicial chambers. When the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, all the exterior and interior public spaces were given landmark status.

Justice Marshall

Thurgood Marshall’s career in law began in 1933 when he graduated, first in his class, from the Howard University Law School. His most celebrated civil rights case was in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy nominated Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. President Lyndon Johnson chose him as the Solicitor-General in 1965 and nominated him to the United States Supreme Court as Associate Justice in 1967. Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

Thurgood Marshall said he wished to be remembered by these words, "That he did what he could with what he had.”

Image courtesy of www.oyez.org


Justice Thurgood Marshall