NAACP Opposes Trump’s Fifth White Nominee to Segregated Appeals Court, Calls on Judiciary Committee Senators to Refuse to Participate in Hearing

BALTIMORE (November 16, 2020)—Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement in opposition to the nomination of Thomas Kirsch to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit:

“Today, the NAACP sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the nomination of Thomas Kirsch to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and calling upon Senators to refuse to participate in the hearing on his nomination. Mr. Kirsch is Donald Trump’s fifth white nominee to the only all-white appellate court in the nation.

Mr. Kirsch’s appointment would perpetuate the segregation of this appellate court, which covers Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana and presides over 7.5 million people of color. The Seventh Circuit lost its only judge of color to retirement early in the Trump administration. Instead of promoting diversity on this court, Trump appointed four white judges, including Amy Coney Barrett. Now that Judge Barrett has been elevated to the Supreme Court, Trump wants to install another white judge in her seat.

Trump’s judicial appointees have been almost exclusively white. This lack of diversity has devastated the federal bench. In the year 2020, no federal appellate court should lack judges of color. Adding insult to injury is that President Obama nominated Myra Selby, a Black woman, to this very seat in 2016. But the Republican-led Senate blocked her confirmation and kept the seat open for Trump to fill with Amy Coney Barrett. The Senate must not allow Trump to install another white judge in this seat, and especially not this late in his presidency.

We are 65 days away from a new president and a new Senate. President-Elect Joe Biden and the Senate of the 117th Congress should decide who sits on the Seventh Circuit. We urge each and every Senator on the Judiciary Committee to refuse to participate in continuing the segregation of this court.”

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