November 18, 2002
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we write to set the record straight regarding the lack of support within the African American community in South Carolina for the confirmation of Dennis Shedd to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
- We understand that Senator Hollings has suggested that the Shedd nomination has the support of African Americans in South Carolina. In fact, the opposite is true: almost every African American group in South Carolina has taken a position against the Shedd nomination.
- African American organizations in South Carolina opposing the Shedd nomination include: South Carolina NAACP (86 chapters); South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus; and South Carolina Progressive Network (54 organizations, including African American organizations)
- Countless ministers from African American churches in South Carolina, have asked various Senators to vote against the Shedd nomination, including but not limited to Bishop Joseph Johnson, presiding bishop of South Atlantic District for the AME Zion Church; Reverend Willie Nelson, presiding elder of the Columbia District of the AME Church; Reverend George Gaymon, pastor of Rehobeth Baptist Church; Reverend John Williams, President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; and Reverend Joseph Darby, President of South Carolina Coalition of Black Church Leaders.
- South Carolina’s only African American congressman, Representative James Clyburn, is opposed to the nomination, as is the entire Congressional Black Caucus.
- The only African American cited at the Judiciary Committee hearing as supporting Shedd’s nomination was Tom Jones, one of Judge Shedd’s former law clerks.
- Shedd is also opposed by African American groups throughout the Fourth Circuit, including: Alliance of Black Women Attorneys of Maryland, Maryland NAACP, Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, North Carolina NAACP, Old Dominion Bar Association of Virginia, and West Virginia NAACP.
- Also, numerous national African American advocacy organizations are opposed to Shedd’s confirmation, including: Black Leadership Forum, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Bar Association, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Congress of Black Women, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., National Urban League, and the Rainbow/Push Coalition.
- The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) appears to be the only civil rights organization supporting the Shedd nomination. CORE’s National Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Roy Innis, is a well-known conservative critic and in the past has supported the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
The African American community in South Carolina, the African American community throughout the Fourth Circuit, and numerous national African American advocacy organizations oppose the confirmation of Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit. For the reasons set forth in LCCR’s August 30 and November 15 letters of opposition, we urge you to vote “no” on his confirmation.
Dr. Dorothy I. Height