Community Opposition To Pickering Confirmation Intensifies

Media 03.6.02

Leaders From Mississippi, Louisiana And Texas Ready To Comment On Pickering Confirmation

For Immediate Release: March 6, 2002

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest and broadest civil rights coalition, opposes the nomination of Southern District of Mississippi Judge Charles Pickering to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Pickering’s record as a district court judge and as a state senator shows his hostility to civil and constitutional rights. Throughout Pickering’s career, he has demonstrated a commitment to the reversal of a number of these rights, for which LCCR has fought for more than 50 years.

Charles Pickering’s negative civil rights record is of particular concern in the circuit to which he has been nominated. With 43 percent of the Fifth Circuit made up of people from underrepresented groups, it is crucial that the judges be extremely sensitive to the civil rights and concerns of these populations. However, as a state senator, Pickering voted to resist measures that would expand electoral opportunities for African Americans, even after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition, as a district court judge, Pickering has continued to strongly criticize the protection of voters’ rights by federal courts under the “one person-one vote” doctrine as “obtrusive.”

Joining the LCCR and other national organizations in opposing Charles Pickering’s confirmation is a diverse group of individuals and representatives from civil rights and women’s rights organizations in Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Several recently made their opposition known in written letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Some community leaders came to the nation’s capitol last week to voice their opposition to their Senators and to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Press interested in reviewing these letters and/or contacting these individuals and organizations should call 202.466.1885.

In addition to these individuals and organizations, a diverse cross-section of national organizations have opposed Charles Pickering’s confirmation because of his record on civil rights and constitutional rights. The most recent organizations to announce their official opposition include the National Bar Association and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). A full listing of organizations opposing Charles Pickering’s nomination as well as other Pickering-related information is available at


Brian Komar Peter Montgomery

202.466.1885 202.467-4999