VIEWPOINTS: Committee Keeps Lowering the Bar by Advancing Nominees Who Won’t Affirm Brown v. Board of Education

Last month marked the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education ruling that struck down the shameful doctrine of ‘separate but equal.’

In light of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance the nominations of David Novak (Eastern District of Virginia), Matthew Solomson (U.S. Court of Federal Claims), Steven Grimberg (Northern District of Georgia), and Ada Brown (Northern District of Texas). —  all of whom have refused to affirm that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided, Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy and government affairs at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued the following statement:

“It is utterly disappointing that the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to advance judicial nominees who are unwilling to acknowledge that the bedrock Brown v. Board decision was correctly decided. Many recent nominees have been willing to affirm this landmark legal precedent, but not Grimberg, Novak, Solomson, and Brown. They are unfit for confirmation. Our congressional leaders cannot continue to lower their standards for these lifetime appointments. There is too much at stake for the country, and for all the generations who will face the lasting consequences of each haphazard confirmation.”

The Leadership Conference previously penned a letter calling on U.S. senators to oppose all judicial nominees who refused to state unequivocally that Brown v. Board was correctly decided.

“Brown is about more than just its historic ruling, that separate but equal school segregation is inherently unequal and unconstitutional,” write Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut and Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP in an Opinion column for USA Today.

“It is about core values and principles deeply embedded in the constitutional consensus that binds and bonds a diverse democracy. It is about a slew of other key precedents that protect lives and law embodying our Constitution. To dodge or refuse to answer the Brown question is to lack fidelity to the rule of law — or at least the courage to state it. It also represents infidelity to the progress we’ve made in the years since Brown was decided.”

“Brown was unanimous,” they continue.

“Justices appointed by both parties joined a single opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former Republican governor. But the principles it championed were not woven into the fabric of our nation overnight. It took the relentless efforts of civil rights organizations like the NAACP and the blood, sweat and tears of good-willed people to change that. It is incumbent on everyone, and most especially our elected leaders and judiciary, to routinely reaffirm the decision and the hard-fought progress it embodies. Today, the only reasonable answer to a question on whether Brown was right is a resounding and forceful “yes.” Because it was right on the law and right on the values.”

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