Urban League Troubled by Vitter's Refusal to Endorse the Precepts of Brown v. Board of Education

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:
 
I write because I am extremely troubled and shocked by Wendy Vitter's refusal to endorse the precepts and holding of the seminal case of Brown v. Board of Education.
 
My letter is written from the perspective of not only now serving as the President of the National Urban League but also serving as the Mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002 as well as a member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1992 to 1994. Prior to that, I maintained an active law practice in New Orleans which included not only  civil rights work but commercial and civil litigation as well as criminal defense work. Louisiana is a better place, and more open society due to Brown.
 
As such, I am familiar with Wendy Vitter's professional record in New Orleans and Louisiana.
 
My sense of shock and outrage at her refusal, and the refusal of any nominee for the Federal Circuit Court, to fail to endorse the precepts and holding of the seminal case of Brown v. Board of Education is troubling and disqualifying for such an important post as Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
 
I do not come to this without careful thought, deliberation and consideration.
 
My first instinct prior to Ms. Vitter's testimony was to not publicly oppose her nomination even though she and d I share different points of view about many important constitutional and jurisprudential issues. However, it is a matter of overriding principle for me that the decision in Brown changed the arc in not only American history, but also the arc of Louisiana and New Orleans' history.
 
If not for Brown, I as well as many others would not have had the opportunity to attend integrated schools in New Orleans in the 1960s and 70s nor the opportunity to attend the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center in the 1970s and 80s. For so many in my generation, the Brown decision opened the door. For anyone in the early 21st Century to even hint that they may be open to revisiting the decision in Brown is absolutely disqualifying and reprehensible.
 
It is for these reasons that I urge you to exercise your constitutional right to advise and consent and to reject Ms. Vitter's nomination.
 
With kindest regards, I am 
 
Yours very truly,
 
Marc H. Morial
President and Chief Executive Officer 
National Urban League
 
cc: The Honorable Cedric Richmond
U.S. Representative,
2nd Congressional District of Louisiana

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