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Judge Denise Clayton has just become the first black woman to serve as the chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals judges.
She was elected to the role by her fellow judges and sworn in earlier this month. She is also the first African American to hold the position, the Associated Press reports.
Her role entails providing administrative oversight to the court while still hearing cases on appeal from lower courts for the next two years, according to the Courier-Journal.
Before her new role, Clayton was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2007 where she became the first black woman to serve on the court. And years earlier, she was the first black woman to be a circuit court judge in Kentucky.
She is the chairwoman for the Chief Justice’s Commission on Racial Fairness for Jefferson County’s courts and is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Louisville Black Lawyers Association, and Women Lawyers Association.
Clayton began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College and her law degree from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law.