March Madness (3/1/2018)-Janet Reno vs. Michelle Obama

Our first match-up is between Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General vs. Michelle Obama, first African American First Lady. Both of these women have made great strides in their respective fields. Which woman inspires you the most? You can vote by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk.  Happy voting!

Image via Wikipedia.

Michelle Obama-First African American First Lady of the United States-“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

Born in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Michelle was determined from a young age to be a good student, as her father had wanted for her. She attended Chicago’s first magnet school, despite the location being three hours one way from her home. Her hard work in school paid off as Michelle graduated salutatorian and went on to follow her older brother to Princeton University. While there, Michelle worked with the Third World center, an academic and cultural group for African American Students, and published a thesis about African American Princeton Graduates. After graduating cum laude, Michelle went on to earn her law degree from Harvard Law. She continued to advocate for minorities, including participating in demonstrations to fight for the hiring of minority professors.  As First Lady, she campaigned for minority rights, women’s rights and became a well-known advocate for education reform, spurring changes in all of those areas.


Janet Reno-First Woman to Serve as U.S. Attorney General-“Until the day I die, or until the day I can’t think anymore, I want to be involved in the issues that I care about.”

Image via National Portrait Gallery website, Smithsonian Institution.

Janet grew up in Miami, Florida, graduating from her high school as valedictorian and debate champion. After college at Cornell University, Janet enrolled in Harvard Law School, one of only 16 women in her class of 500. She worked as the State Attorney for Miami-Dade County for years, consistently being re-voted into office despite her occasional losses in high profile, controversial cases. She was well known for aggressively prosecuting child abuse cases, where she was able to drastically change the way that children were able to give testimony in court to make the children more comfortable and safe. Despite the occasional controversy surrounding her involvement in cases, Janet was confirmed in 1993 as the first Woman Attorney General of the United States. During her tenure, she continued to change polices in favor of witness interviewing, especially those of children.

Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.

Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at

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