If judicial nominees don’t support ‘Brown v. Board,’ they don’t support the rule of lawRoundup
tags: legal history, desegregation, Brown v. Board
Sherrilyn Ifill is president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Since April 2018, more than two dozen executive and judicial nominees have declined to endorse the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education. This week — one that marks the 65th anniversary of the landmark ruling that struck down legal apartheid in this country — the Senate is poised to confirm three of those judicial nominees to lifetime seats on the federal bench.
That is simply unacceptable.
Few of us — no matter our race, color or creed — would recognize our democracy or legal system without the changes touched off by this momentous civil rights case. For nearly 65 years, the legal consensus around Brown was unequivocal. With its transformational opinion eviscerating segregation and codifying the modern contours of equal justice, Brown remained above partisanship, ideology and everything else.
Even the most conservative judges affirmed its centrality to our nation’s democratic character. At his 2005 confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. repeatedly affirmed his agreement with Brown. That same year, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. explained that Brown “vindicated what the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment was supposed to mean, which was to guarantee equal rights to people of all races.” Just last year, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh described Brown as the “single greatest moment in Supreme Court history.”
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