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Wednesday, 10 January 2007

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Congressional Black Caucus

I urge the President to find a better candidate than Leslie Southwick, whose actions have shown him to be unworthy and insensitive. To allow this nomination to be confirmed would condone and legitimize his obvious disregard for issues that confront minority communities. Southwick made a decision in Richmond v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services to uphold the reinstatement of a worker who referred to a co-worker as a “good-ole nigger” after a hearing officer found that calling the employee “a good ole nigger’ was the equivalent of calling the employee a “teacher’s pet." Southwick also has a proven pattern of approving peremptory challenges that exclude minorities from juries (striking persons from serving on a jury, usually without giving a reason). Those who serve on the bench must not only have a good judicial temperament and be well-versed in the law, they must also have a sound understanding of what constitutes invidious discrimination, as well as what constitutes a hostile work environment.

We have to assume that people may give us only one clue into their inner-most thinking. We cannot avoid the clues given to us by Southwick in his Richmond v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services ruling and his rulings on race discrimination in jury selection. These rulings are indicative of Southwick’s willingness to condone overt bigotry and engage in covert discrimination. We cannot ignore this evidence before us-- it must be examined before it is too late and a lifetime appointment is made.

Cragg Hines of the Houston Chronicle was absolutely on target when he compared Southwick to Don Imus. Judges have a necessity to be impartial. Southwick and his Imus-like mentality must not be allowed to serve on the bench in the 5th Circuit, the federal circuit with the highest percentage of minorities. Though we may not have evidence on how he would view other minorities, the evidence we do have tells us this is not a person with an adequate understanding of minority issues. It is essential, knowing what we know now, for the President to rethink and withdraw the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals-- Southwick is not the only person available. There are other candidates who are capable, competent, and qualified without this Imus-like mentality and they must be considered.

http://www.house.gov/htbin/blog_inc?BLOG,mi13_kilpatrick,blog,999,All,Item%20not%20found,ID=070603_0678,TEMPLATE=postingdetail.shtml


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The StandDown Texas Project

  • The StandDown Texas Project was organized in 2000 to advocate a moratorium on executions and a state-sponsored review of Texas' application of the death penalty. To stand down is to go off duty temporarily, especially to review safety procedures.

Steve Hall

  • Project Director Steve Hall was chief of staff to the Attorney General of Texas from 1983-1991; he was an administrator of the Texas Resource Center from 1993-1995. He has worked for the U.S. Congress and several Texas legislators. Hall is a former journalist.
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