BARRETT COULD LEAD RETURN TO RACIST PAST: CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS
After four days of confirmation hearings, Black leaders of five major civil rights organizations are lining up in opposition to the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court (SC) and the “deeply flawed” process Senate Republicans are using to secure her confirmation just weeks ahead of a presidential election.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Kristen Clarke, president of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, said Barrett is “reluctant and unwilling” to recognize modern threats to voting rights faced by Black voters and people of color. Clarke said Barrett’s “originalist” judicial philosophy puts at risk important civil rights precedents such as Brown v. Board of Education, which found state-sanctioned racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, and jeopardizes “bedrock” anti-discrimination protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Her outlook is not a mainstream approach to the Constitution,” Clarke said. “It is one that leaves us stuck in a bygone era and invites a return to a racist past — not compatible with the modern era,” reported Mike Ludwig for Truthout.
Leaders of the National Urban League (NUL), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told reporters that Barrett would threaten hard-fought voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and anti-discrimination protections for years to come. Longtime civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton convened the virtual meeting so these organizations could share their concerns with the press.
“What we have heard over the past four days have only affirmed and indeed deepened our concern over Amy Coney Barrett,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who went on to become the first Black justice to serve on the SC. Civil rights attorney Damon Hewitt said that, like Barrett, he was raised Catholic in the New Orleans area and attended Catholic schools. But today Hewitt is the executive vice president of the Lawyers’ Committee of Civil Rights Under the Law, and Barrett is a conservative judge. Hewitt, who is Black, said Barrett must have different “takeaways” from growing up in southern Louisiana, where Black people were enslaved, and where Black civil rights activists like Homer Plessy challenged Jim Crow-era racial segregation all the way to the SC.