Senate Democrats were right to block several of President Bush's judicial nominees for the federal courts.
In the last few weeks, two blacks have appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in hopes of gaining seats on some of the country's most important federal courts. One nominee was blocked, and the other is still pending confirmation.
I'm a black lawyer, so you might think I'd be rooting for them to become members of the federal bench. I'm not.
Both of Bush's recent black nominees are hard-line conservatives, and Bush was wrong to select them in the first place.
Janice Rogers Brown, a justice on California Supreme Court, was the first of Bush's nominees to seek Senate confirmation. Fortunately, her nomination was one of the few blocked by Democrats on Nov. 14.
Bush nominated Brown to the important U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She not only has a well-documented ultraconservative judicial record but she has also given numerous speeches where she has expressed her hard-right views openly.
At the recent Senate hearing, it was reported that Brown compared President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal legislation to a "socialist revolution," and that she has stated that government causes the disintegration of society and the promotion of "moral depravity."
Many black organizations opposed her nomination.
Hillary Shelton, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Washington bureau, said that Brown "has a record of hostility to fundamental civil and constitutional-rights principles." The Congressional Black Caucus opposed her nomination as well.
Another black judicial nominee, Claude Allen, is still awaiting confirmation. Bush nominated him to serve on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Allen is deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. The 4th Circuit is one of the nation's most conservative courts, and Allen would make it even more so.
Senate Democrats would be wise to block his nomination, too. Allen has no judicial experience. He served faithfully on the staff of arch-conservative Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., back in the 1980s.
The NAACP board of directors opposes Allen's nomination. It cites his refusal to distance himself from Helms' filibuster of the1983 bill that created a national holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The National Organization for Women, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and Americans for Democratic Action all oppose Allen's nomination for his views. These include questionable stances on AIDS prevention, right-to-die issues and, especially, reproductive rights of women.
By nominating Allen and Brown, Bush has attempted to use race as a cover to place ultraconservative, reactionary judges in the federal courts. It has been done before with Clarence Thomas, but this time it must fail.
Do not judge Bush's nominees by the color of their skin. Judge them by what they have said, written and done while serving as public officials.
Gilmore, a lawyer, wrote this for Progressive Media Project, based in Madison, Wisonsin