Civil Rights Coalition Applauds Senators for Defeating Pickering’s Confirmation

Categories: Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), issued the following statement today and applauded the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats for opposing the confirmation of 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 LCCR priorities, including civil rights and constitutional issues. Further, 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. LCCR believes that the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to the American people to scrutinize all judicial nominations and to oppose jurists like Charles Pickering, whose record shows hostility for civil rights.

Charles Pickering’s documented contempt for civil rights is of particular concern in the circuit to which he has been nominated. Because the Fifth Circuit has the most heavily concentrated population of people of color in the country, it is crucial that federal judges be extremely sensitive to the civil rights and concerns of these populations. However, as a state senator, Charles 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.”

During his tenure as a judge on the U.S. District Court in Mississippi, Pickering went to extraordinary lengths to reduce a mandatory jail sentence for a man convicted of burning a cross on an interracial couple’s lawn. LCCR also remains deeply troubled that Judge Pickering began his legal career with an article supporting an amendment to correct a loophole in Mississippi’s miscegenation statute and thus allow the imposition of criminal penalties for violating the ban on interracial marriage.

Federal judicial appointments—lifetime positions—are far too important to hastily confirm nominees with extremist or controversial positions. The Senate holds an enormous responsibility in its constitutional role to advise and consent on federal judicial nominations. That power must be wielded with the utmost of care. LCCR reminds the Senate that no nominee is presumptively entitled to confirmation. Nominees must be subject to the highest standard of scrutiny, and protection of the rights of the people should take precedence over the agenda of either political party or the aspirations of any judicial candidate.


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WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), issued the following statement today and applauded the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats for opposing the confirmation of 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 LCCR priorities, including civil rights and constitutional issues. Further, 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. LCCR believes that the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to the American people to scrutinize all judicial nominations and to oppose jurists like Charles Pickering, whose record shows hostility for civil rights.

Charles Pickering’s documented contempt for civil rights is of particular concern in the circuit to which he has been nominated. Because the Fifth Circuit has the most heavily concentrated population of people of color in the country, it is crucial that federal judges be extremely sensitive to the civil rights and concerns of these populations. However, as a state senator, Charles 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.”

During his tenure as a judge on the U.S. District Court in Mississippi, Pickering went to extraordinary lengths to reduce a mandatory jail sentence for a man convicted of burning a cross on an interracial couple’s lawn. LCCR also remains deeply troubled that Judge Pickering began his legal career with an article supporting an amendment to correct a loophole in Mississippi’s miscegenation statute and thus allow the imposition of criminal penalties for violating the ban on interracial marriage.

Federal judicial appointments—lifetime positions—are far too important to hastily confirm nominees with extremist or controversial positions. The Senate holds an enormous responsibility in its constitutional role to advise and consent on federal judicial nominations. That power must be wielded with the utmost of care. LCCR reminds the Senate that no nominee is presumptively entitled to confirmation. Nominees must be subject to the highest standard of scrutiny, and protection of the rights of the people should take precedence over the agenda of either political party or the aspirations of any judicial candidate.


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