My personal hero is Charles Hamilton Houston, the architect of the brilliant legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education. I was born in Texas when separate but equal was the law of the land. My Dad was an Air Force officer so my brothers and I went to fully desegregated schools on Air Force bases in England, France, and Illinois. That education enabled me to enter Northwestern University in 1967, skipping Freshman English as a result of my test scores. I do not say that to brag but to demonstrate the benefits of the Brown decision.
The white supremacists did not like Brown. They put up billboards demanding to IMPEACH EARL WARREN, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. More sophisticated opponents of racial equality took a more strategic approach to the power of the federal courts. Lewis Powell wrote a manifesto in 1971 on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce complaining that the courts were too harsh in their rulings on corporations. He proposed a comprehensive plan to correct that. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, a disgraced president who nonetheless got to put his minions on the high court. Powell kept the memo secret during the confirmation hearings so we had no idea of his extremist ideology. Sound familiar?
In 1980, the Reagan Justice Department under Edwin Meese issued a series of papers outlining ways to stop the federal courts from advancing the rights of people of color. These papers called The Constitution in the Year 2000 talked about making sure the federal courts reversed rulings that helped people of color. Two years later the Federalist Society was formed. Law students joined the Federalist Society which served, and continues to serve, as a pipeline to clerkships with judges and appointments to the federal judiciary.
Now, we are faced with Trump’s handpicked nominee to the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
In three newly released in-depth reports, Demos, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), and The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have independently analyzed Kavanaugh’s history on a series of issues bearing on racial justice and all concluded that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would unequivocally be a step backward for communities of color and other marginalized people.
The three reports examined Kavanaugh’s record on a series of cases and public documents, and found that Kavanaugh sided with the more powerful party at the expense of people of color. Collectively, these reports highlight his dangerous belief in a “colorblind” Constitution and demonstrate that he shows a disregard for America’s brutal history of slavery, segregation, and state-sanctioned violence, and the systemic inequities still experienced by people of color today.
READ THE REPORTS:
The prospects of a Justice Kavanaugh sends chill down my spine. PLEASE call your Senators and urge them to vote “no”even if you are in a Blue State. We really need calls to Senators Donnelly, Heitkamp, McCaskill, Jones, Manchin, Collins, and Murkowski.
The Democracy you save may be your own.