US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi gave this week’s Republican address, previewing the budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year that the Senate will vote on next week.

“Republicans have put forward a responsible plan that balances the budget in ten years with no new tax hikes, that protects our most vulnerable citizens, it strengthens our national defense, and it improves economic growth and opportunity for hardworking families,” Enzi says. The Wyoming Republican is the chair of the Senate Budget Committee and an accountant.

Enzi calls out the Obama administration for “spending more than ever and taxing more than ever.”

“Today America’s debt totals more than $18 trillion,” Enzi points out. “In fact, every man, woman, and child now owes more than $56,000 on that debt, and that number is expected to grow to more than $75,000 over the next decade unless we make important changes.”

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

“Hello. I’m Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

“I am also an accountant and chair of the Senate Budget Committee. This week we started the monumental task of confronting America’s chronic overspending; tackling our nation’s surging debt; and balancing our nation’s budget.

“Before coming to Congress, I ran a small business in Wyoming for many years, I served as a mayor of my hometown, then as a state legislator. And in those roles, one of the most important jobs I had was to ensure my budgets were balanced every year. It is time to begin this responsible accounting in Washington, because while you can lie about the numbers, the numbers never lie.

“The worst kept secret in America is: this Administration is spending more than ever and taxing more than ever. The federal government should spend your tax dollars wisely and responsibly, and give you the freedom and control to pursue your future, the way you choose.

“Hardworking taxpayers deserve a government that is more efficient, more effective, and more accountable. This should be something both parties agree on – because no one wants an inefficient, ineffective and unaccountable government.

“Runaway spending habits over the past six years have created a dangerously growing debt, because the habit of spending now and paying later is deeply ingrained.

“Federal revenues have hit record highs. Yet, we’re on track to overspend by nearly $1 trillion a year – to put that into perspective – that is $1000 billion dollars. And the more Washington overspends, the more debt we owe, and the more is added to the debt for future generations.

“Today America’s debt totals more than $18 trillion. In fact, every man, woman, and child now owes more than $56,000 on that debt, and that number is expected to grow to more than $75,000 over the next decade, unless we make important changes.

“Every dollar spent on interest and our debt is another dollar we won’t be able to use for government services for individuals in need, or another dollar that won’t be available for taxpayers for their own needs.

“It is time to stop talking and start acting. Washington must live within its means – just like every hardworking families do every day – and deliver a more effective and accountable government to the American people that supports them when it must and gets out of the way when it should.

“We didn’t get here overnight – and we won’t fix it overnight. But we can begin to solve this crisis if we act now.

“Republicans have put forward a responsible plan that balances the budget in ten years with no new tax hikes, that protects our most vulnerable citizens, it strengthens our national defense, and it improves economic growth and opportunity for hardworking families.

“A balanced budget means real accountability in Washington and ensures that programs actually accomplish what they set out to deliver.

“A balanced budget supports economic growth for hardworking families, and creates real opportunity for all Americans to grow and prosper.

“A balanced budget allows Americans to spend more time working hard to grow their businesses or advance in their jobs, instead of worrying about taxes and inefficient and ineffective regulations. It also means our job creators can find new opportunities to expand our economy, and most importantly, it means every American who wants to find a good-paying job and a fulfilling career has the opportunity to do just that.

“That’s what a balanced budget means for our nation – and it’s what the American people deserve.

“Congress is under new management and by working together to find shared ground on commonsense solutions, we can deliver real results and real progress.

“Thank you for listening.”

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Pete Souza / The White HouseWASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden criticized the budget proposed by House Republicans on Friday while addressing the seventh biennial National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence, saying that the proposal would reduce or eliminate programs aimed at assisting female victims of domestic violence.

“You saw the debates we had about reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act,” Biden said. “But wasn’t it amazing that after all these years and all the evidence presented that it’s still a debate?” He called that debate “one of the most disappointing things to me in all my years in public life.”

The Republican proposal, which would eliminate the Affordable Care Act, would also cut home visitation programs for victims and allow health insurers to consider injuries caused by abuse as previously existing conditions, Biden said. Other programs would be slashed by more than 12 percent, including subsidies to help alleviate a backlog of untested rape kits nationally.

“A budget is to reflect a country’s values and priorities,” Biden said.

“The House Republican budget — it will not pass, God willing — totally eliminates the Affordable Care Act, does not replace it with anything, and all those programs I just mentioned that benefit victimized women will be gone,” Biden concluded.

He also took to Twitter, saying that as important as it is to protect American women from violence, we must do the same for women around the world.

“As we protect women in America from violence, we have a similar obligation to end violence against women around the world.” -VP Biden

— Vice President Biden (@VP) March 20, 2015

“Our Administration will continue using the tools at our disposal to promote the human rights of women.” -Vice President Biden

— Vice President Biden (@VP) March 20, 2015

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TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) — Bentos, kimonos and drums, oh my!

Just before the cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C., a symbol of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, Michelle Obama made her first ever visit to the island nation.

Although the purpose of her fourth official solo trip abroad as first lady was to promote her Let Girls Learn initiative, a program aimed at training local activists and community leaders to help young women connect with education opportunities, Obama didn’t deprive herself of fun.

Over three days, Obama indulged in Japan’s rich and ancient culture. First stop, Tokyo.

Obama stepped off the plane in a vibrant green dress by Kenzo, a French fashion house founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada.

Konichiwa! The First Lady’s in Japan to announce a new partnership to help #LetGirlsLearn worldwide. pic.twitter.com/KB5w0a2Gcb

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) March 18, 2015

Meeting with the Japanese First Lady

Obama met her Japanese counterpart, Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the country’s capital.

Made It to the Top of Mount Fiji…Sort Of

Then, she tweeted this amazing view from her flight to Kyoto, Japan:

Flying over Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, on the way to Kyoto. pic.twitter.com/IctrQ487R3

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) March 20, 2015

Toured a Buddhist Temple

Accompanied by Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Obama enjoyed a breathtaking view of one of Japan’s oldest cities, Kyoto, from one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples, Kiyomizu-dera.

The historic temple, established in 778, is halfway up Otowa Mountain.

Taking in a beautiful view of Kyoto from the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist Temple with @Amb_Kennedy.

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Mar 19, 2015 at 10:55pm PDT

Watched a Noh Performance

With the beautiful view of Kyoto below them, local college students had the privilege of performing for the first lady. Noh is a form of classical Japanese musical drama with elaborate costumes.

Played the Drums

Students from the Akutagawa High School Taiko Club also performed for the first lady in front of the Fushimi Inari Shinto shrine.

Taiko drumming, which includes a broad range of percussion instruments, is a popular cultural aspect of Japan.

Ordered a Bento Box

In keeping with her healthy habits, Obama breaked for a bento box — a Japanese staple for lunch — while at the Jojuin temple, which is famous for its hydrangea blooms.

Lunch time in Kyoto: A delicious and colorful bento box at the Jojuin Temple.

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:50pm PDT

Watched a Traditional Tea Ceremony

“Finally, I got to watch — and participate in — a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in which tea is prepared and served through an elaborate series of graceful movements,” Obama wrote on her blog post on Medium. “It was magnificent.”

Here’s a White House recap of Obama’s trip to Kyoto:

Obama left Japan and arrived this morning in Cambodia. It is the first time a sitting American first lady has ever visited that country.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week.

Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern.

Worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care top the list of Americans’ worries, each causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50 percent of Americans.

Topics that worry Americans a great deal:

  • 54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
  • 53% – The economy
  • 51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • 46% – The Social Security system
  • 46% – The size and power of the federal government
  • 46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
  • 43% – Hunger and homelessness
  • 43% – Crime and violence
  • 39% – Illegal immigration
  • 38% – Drug use
  • 37% – Unemployment
  • 34% – The quality of the environment
  • 28% – The availability and affordability of energy
  • 28% – Race relations
  • 25% – Climate change

The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans’ concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern.

The list also holds some good news. While Americans’ concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. The percentage of Americans worried about unemployment fell substantially from 49 percent in 2014 to 37 percent this year. Furthermore, Gallup says that figure has not been this low since before the start of the economic recession.

Of the topics on the list, Americans are least concerned about climate change. Race relations and the availability of affordable energy fill out the rest of the bottom three. Gallup attributes this shift in worry to “amped up” conversations on racism and police brutality in some communities, combined with economic growth and lower gas prices.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week.

Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern.

Worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care top the list of Americans’ worries, each causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50 percent of Americans.

Topics that worry Americans a great deal:

  • 54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
  • 53% – The economy
  • 51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • 46% – The Social Security system
  • 46% – The size and power of the federal government
  • 46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
  • 43% – Hunger and homelessness
  • 43% – Crime and violence
  • 39% – Illegal immigration
  • 38% – Drug use
  • 37% – Unemployment
  • 34% – The quality of the environment
  • 28% – The availability and affordability of energy
  • 28% – Race relations
  • 25% – Climate change

The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans’ concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern.

The list also holds some good news. While Americans’ concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. The percentage of Americans worried about unemployment fell substantially from 49 percent in 2014 to 37 percent this year. Furthermore, Gallup says that figure has not been this low since before the start of the economic recession.

Of the topics on the list, Americans are least concerned about climate change. Race relations and the availability of affordable energy fill out the rest of the bottom three. Gallup attributes this shift in worry to “amped up” conversations on racism and police brutality in some communities, combined with economic growth and lower gas prices.

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US Congress(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — The FBI office in Illinois’ state capital has opened a criminal investigation aimed at Rep. Aaron Schock.

Federal prosecutors in Springfield are assisting with the probe, which is looking at whether certain actions by the outgoing congressman violated federal law.

Even Schock’s father has acknowledged his son’s ethics troubles might lead to time behind bars.

“[It] all depends on what the Department of Justice wants to do,” Richard Schock told Chicago’s ABC affiliate WLS-TV on Wednesday. “Two years from now he will be successful if he’s not in jail.”

Nevertheless, a decade from now, “whatever he’s doing, he will be successful at. I promise you that,” Richard Schock insisted.

The congressman’s father also said the four-term lawmaker, 33, has been unfairly targeted.

Once Schock’s resignation officially takes effect on March 31, at least one pending House ethics investigation will end.

Before any of the drama over decorating his office to resemble the set of the popular show Downton Abbey, Schock was already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules and standards of conduct. That investigation will end March 31 with the end of Schock’s service in Congress.

The Office of Congressional Ethics was also reportedly beginning its own probe into Schock’s expenditures. That probe will also end on the 31st, as OCE doesn’t have jurisdiction over former members of Congress.

Schock has repaid all money he’s received during his congressional career in the hopes of getting ahead of any potential legal ramifications after allegedly bilking the Treasury out of tens of thousands of dollars by overstating mileage on his official auto trips.

“In an effort to remove any questions and out of an abundance of caution, Congressman Schock has reimbursed all monies received for official mileage since his election to Congress,” a Schock aide wrote in an email.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The man brought in to repair one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies after it was scarred by a gun-running scandal is stepping down, ABC News has learned.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director B. Todd Jones has informed Attorney General Eric Holder he plans to resign. Jones has secured a new job in the private sector in New York City, and may be joining a professional sports league, ABC News was told.

Jones first took charge of the agency in August 2011, holding the position in an “acting” capacity until the U.S. Senate confirmed his presidential nomination nearly two years later. ATF had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.

During that time, the ATF and the Justice Department more broadly were blindsided by the “Fast and Furious” scandal, named for the ATF-led investigation in Arizona that put guns into the hands of criminals in Mexico, two of which ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in late 2010.

In the wake of the scandal, President Obama then tapped Jones to chart a new course for the ATF. At the time, Jones was serving double-duty, holding onto his position as U.S. attorney — the Justice Department’s top prosecutor — in Minnesota.

Once confirmed, though, Jones left the U.S. attorney’s office, devoting his full attention to what ATF’s website says is “the unique law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice with the responsibility for enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations.”

Last month, however, controversy simmered across the country again when the ATF proposed banning certain.223-caliber bullets, which the ATF warned can break through a supposedly bullet-proof vest. Nevertheless, the public outcry and pressure from lawmakers prompted ATF to abandon its plans.

Before becoming U.S. Attorney in Minnesota at the start of the Obama administration, Jones was a partner with a major national law firm in Minneapolis, according to his official biography on ATF’s website.

After receiving his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983, he went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as an infantry officer with the First Marine Division and, subsequently, both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of court martial proceedings, his official biography says. Though he left active duty and returned to Minnesota in 1989, he was recalled to active duty in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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ABC News(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continued his presumed quest to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination by making several appearances in South Carolina Thursday where voters go to the polls next February for the first southern primary.

The governor, who has won three elections in four years, including an effort to recall him, has positioned himself as a Washington outsider with broad appeal to both Republican establishment-types and social conservatives.

Walker is particularly attractive to GOP voters in South Carolina for his strong stance on national defense, opposition to unions and religious roots as the son of a Baptist preacher.

His only drawback at this point is being unable to match the fund-raising ability of probable frontrunner Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who still hasn’t formally declared his intention to run for the White House.

Seeking to set aside doubts that he can’t keep up with Bush, Walker told one gathering that South Carolina Republicans were among his “almost 300,000 donors in the past four years” from all 50 states.

“Only Mitt Romney has more donors on the Republican side than that, and obviously he’s a former nominee,” Walker added.

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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When in the course of human events a person, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, watches the NCAA basketball tournament, it becomes necessary for that person to participate in a joint ABC News/ESPN bracket pool.

Well, “necessary” might be pushing it, but 14 of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have done just that.

In partnership with our sister network ESPN, ABC News reached out to every major politician who’s said he or she is looking at a run for the White House. The result: Our official NCAA bracket pool for possible 2016 aspirants, live and viewable at ESPN.com–in the same format we and everyone else uses for ESPN bracket pools with our friends.

See the ABC/ESPN 2016 Potential Candidates’ Pool here after games tip off.

In this pool, the stakes could be presidential. See below who picked whom, and what it might mean for the future of the White House and the country.

JEB BUSH — VIRGINIA

The GOP’s 2016 front-runner shied away from the NCAA front-runner, Kentucky, and picked the University of Virginia to upset the Wildcats and win it all. Through the most jaded political lens, it could be considered a play for Virginia’s coveted swing-state votes in the general election — but we know the former governor isn’t looking that far ahead just yet. Losing Iowa State, who Bush had going to the Elite Eight, was a difficult way to start the tournament, though.

Filled out my bracket last night. Picking @UVAMensHoops to win it all! In SC today if you want to lodge complaints… pic.twitter.com/lKKDdH1RJL

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 17, 2015

BOBBY JINDAL — LOUISIANA STATE
Standing by his home state until the end, the Louisiana governor picked LSU to advance as a nine-seed and win it all over Kentucky. The nationally known governor threw a potential bone to Iowa voters, picking Northern Iowa to upset Louisville in the second round. Jindal also had Iowa State in his Elite Eight.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s NCAA bracket: LSU all the way pic.twitter.com/K6znEBUcR3

— Chris Good (@c_good) March 19, 2015

LINDSEY GRAHAM — KENTUCKY
Staying true to his Southern roots, the South Carolina senator sent two teams from his neighboring state, North Carolina, and two teams from Kentucky to the Final Four. In the end he put all his faith in the state of Kentucky — home of a potential 2016 rival and fellow senator, Rand Paul — and had Kentucky and Louisville playing for the title, with Kentucky winning it all. Graham is also the third possible candidate to suffer the loss of Iowa State.

.@LindseyGrahamSC‘s favoring 2 states in the NCAA Tournament, w/ 2 Kentucky teams & 2 NC teams in his #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/lB3AttO2LL

— A.J. Feather (@AJFeather) March 19, 2015

SCOTT WALKER — WISCONSIN
Unsurprisingly, Gov. Walker chose his home-state team to win the tournament. But he also stayed true to the Midwest by putting the Iowa State Cyclones in his Final Four. That decision turned out to haunt him when the Cyclones were upset on Thursday.

MARTIN O’MALLEY — MARYLAND
Staying true to his state, the former Democratic governor of Maryland — and the lone Democrat participating in our bracket challenge — Martin O’Malley picked the Maryland Terrapins to win it all. He matched Walker in disappointment, though, with the loss of a Final Four team in Iowa State.

@GovernorOMalley staying true to his state roots, picks @umterps to win it all. #MarchMadness #MarchMadnessBracket pic.twitter.com/aSOFQrGIgw

— Veronica Strac (@VeronicaStrac) March 19, 2015

BEN CARSON — KENTUCKY
The neurosurgeon played it safe and showed a steady hand in sticking with top-seeded picks to make it to the Final Four. The potential Republican candidate is going with the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats as his champion.

CARLY FIORINA — VIRGINIA
The one-time Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO put her numbers game to the test with carefully calculated picks. Baylor is the lowest seed she sent to the Final Four, with UVA winning it all.

TED CRUZ — KENTUCKY
Although the Texan senator tweeted out a congratulations to all the Texas teams that made the tournament, Cruz opted out of picking any of his home-state teams to reach the Final Four. That turned out to be a good call, as the University of Texas, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University and Texas Southern all lost on day one. Cruz also sided with sports analysts and picked the undefeated Wildcats as the winner.

JOHN BOLTON — KENTUCKY
The former U.N. ambassador puts his geopolitical pragmatism to use in this bracket that includes three one seeds and a two seed in the Final Four. A Yale alum, Bolton picked his alma mater’s rival, Harvard, to win its first-round game.

JIM GILMORE — VIRGINIA
The former Virginia governor picks a homer bracket, with his home state’s UVA team going all the way. Gilmore, however, made the popular — but ill-fated — selection of putting Iowa State in the Final Four.

Virginia Gov. @GovernorGilmore picks his home state’s team UVA for the win: #marchmadness pic.twitter.com/JBkzt4dRLN

— Stacy Chen (@stacyytchen) March 19, 2015

RICK SANTORUM — WISCONSIN
The former senator and onetime GOP presidential runner-up played it safe, carefully picking the higher seeds in most games. However, like other possible 2016 hopefuls, he appeared to be favoring Iowa — whose caucuses he won in 2012 — putting the Iowa State Cyclones in the Final Four. He also made sure to represent Pennsylvania, with Villanova also reaching the semifinal round.

BOB EHRLICH — KENTUCKY
The former Maryland governor stuck with the front-runner in this field, picking the Wildcats over Duke in the title game. Ehrlich might be an early underdog to the 2016 front-runners if he enters the race, and he chose some upsets in the tournament this year, with UCLA and Davidson both advancing.

GEORGE PATAKI — KENTUCKY
In what could be construed as a naked play for support from Iowa caucusgoers, or a massive error in judgement, the former New York governor had Iowa State reaching the title game, before the overwhelming odds prevail with a Kentucky victory in Gov. Pataki’s bracket.

MIKE HUCKABEE — ARKANSAS
Last, but certainly not least, the 12-seed darling of the 2008 presidential race declined to submit an actual, pool-worthy bracket, but he shows out for his home state of Arkansas with what might be the biggest homer NCAA bracket ever tweeted.

Just filled out my bracket for the NCAA tournament. Pretty sure I nailed it. #gohogsgo #woopigsooie pic.twitter.com/vUE5cZ2qgx

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 17, 2015

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Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Justice Ginsburg dissents…from smiling.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi snapped a selfie with the ladies of the Supreme Court at her annual Women’s History Month reception Wednesday, but not even a sappy Instagram filter could soften the Notorious R.B.G.

While Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan smiled obligingly, 82-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – known on social media as “Notorious R.B.G.” – remained remarkably stone-faced.

Celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth by honoring women of “Supreme” achievements! #WomenSucceed pic.twitter.com/X7y9vRUu5p

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 18, 2015

Considering R.B.G. is an O.G. (that’s original gangster, for all you non-’90s rap fans), it’s perhaps not surprising that she’d “mean-mug” in a selfie.

While the group photo, taken in Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill, may not break the Internet, the “Supreme selfie” is generating some buzz in part from Ginsburg’s stoic expression.

Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are the only female justices in U.S. history.

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