March Madness (3/13/2018)-Sarah Weddington v. Mazie Hirono

Today’s match-up is between Sarah Weddington and Mazie Hirono.  Sarah Weddington was the youngest person to argue successfully in front of the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade. Mazie Hirono was the first Asian American woman and first Buddhist elected to the Senate. 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!

Sarah Weddington-“Everyone wants to know they have made a difference…I know I have. I may be tired, but I am not bored.”

Image via Britannica

Born in Abilene, Texas, Sarah Weddington was constantly involved in school activities before graduating from high school a full two years early. She entered the University of Texas Law School at only 19 and graduated in the top quarter of her class three years later. Despite being a successful student, Sarah had trouble obtaining a job after graduation. She decided to join a group of law graduates that wanted to challenge anti-abortion statutes. Soon after joining, the group was approached by a woman who’d been prevented from having an abortion and wished to sue the district attorney known for enforcing the statute. Because of her own history, having had an illegal abortion years earlier in Mexico, Sarah started researching the case and soon was deep in the Roe v. Wade In 1971 and 1972, Sarah presented the case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States and argued based on many of the Amendments to the Constitution and on privacy decisions made by the Supreme Court previously. In 1973, the Supreme Court overturned the Texas abortion laws and sided in favor of Sarah’s case, making her the youngest person ever to argue successfully to the Supreme Court at only 27 years old. After the Roe v. Wade decision, Sarah was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Mazie Hirom-“I bring quadruple diversity to the Senate: I’m a woman; I’ll be the first Asian woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate; I am an immigrant; I am a Buddhist. When I said this at one of my gatherings, they said, ‘Yes, but are you gay?’ and I said, ‘Nobody’s perfect’.”

Image via Britannica

Born in Japan to a Japanese gambler who took money from his family and a Japanese woman who had American citizenship, Mazie Hirono spent most of her life in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her mother struggled to support Mazie and her two brothers, but her mother managed to keep the family together. Mazie had a paper route and at her school cafeteria to help where she could. Mazie eventually went to the University of Hawaii where she graduated at the top of her class and then moved on to Georgetown University to obtain her J.D. Within two years of graduating with her J.D. and practicing in Hawaii, Mazie was elected to Hawaii’s State House of Representatives, where she spent 14 years being reelected before she spent 8 years as the Lieutenant Governor of the state. She passed over 200 laws in her time at the Hawaiian state government. In 2002, she was a candidate for the very competitive Democratic nomination for one of Hawaii’s senate seats. She beat out more than 10 other people, both Democratic and then Republican, to become the First Asian American Woman in the Senate and the first Woman senator from Hawaii.

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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