enator Cory Booker
asked a very relevant question to Michael Brennan
, one of Trump’s judicial nominees, during Brennan’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday.Booker skillfully pressed Brennan, a Wisconsin lawyer nominated to the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, on racial bias in the criminal justice system. Unsurprisingly, Brennan wouldn’t admit to the existence of racial bias and did the obvious sidestep. Check this out:
Here’s a recap of how it went down between Booker and Brennan:
“Do you think implicit racial bias exists in our criminal justice system?” asked Booker, who one of three Black members ever in history on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“…I would indicate only that I would do my very best as a judge to ensure that no biases came in,” said Brennan.
“You’re aware that African-Americans are stopped more than whites for drug searches in this country?” Booker continued. “That there’s no difference between blacks and whites for using drugs or dealing drugs, but [blacks] are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for it? You’re aware of the data, I imagine, that says African-Americans are more likely to get mandatory minimum sentences for the same crime. You’re probably aware of the data that African-Americans are more likely to serve more time for similar crimes.”
The senator asked a second time: “Do you think implicit racial bias exists in the criminal justice system as you know it?”
“I’m not asking about you specifically, sir,” Booker interrupted. “I’m asking do you think racial bias exists in the criminal justice system.”
The rest of the story goes that Booker kept asking Brennan and he kept dodging the question. Brennan offered up a BS answer that he couldn’t express a position on racial bias because of a “canons of ethics” for judges. He then tried to change the subject to his volunteer work. Booker wasn’t having it.
“You haven’t [offered an opinion]? You’re a judge in the United States of America and you have not looked at issues of race in sentencing and the criminal justice system?” Booker asked. “I find this astonishing.”Brennan said he might offer an opinion if he could see the data that Booker was referencing. He wanted to see receipts after Booker threw a ton of facts his way.
It’s important to note that Brennan was a trial judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court for nine years. Working within the criminal justice system for several years would undoubtedly allow someone to get to know its inner workings and play a role, or at least see, how courts have handled the numerous cases that allude to or summon questions about racial bias. It’s not a question of if bias exist, as many studies show data indicating its existence. The question is if and when ever Brennan and others in Trump’s cabinet and on Capitol Hill will admit that it does exists.
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2. Reg E. Cathey
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3. Lovebug Starski, 57
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4. Olivia Cole, 75
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5. Wyatt Tee Walker, 88
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6. Jesse 'Smiley' Rutland
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7. Hugh Masekela, 78
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8. Edwin Hawkins, 74
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