NAACP Calls On Senate To Oppose Pickering And Owen Nomination To Federal Appeals Court

On January 9th, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) strongly urged the United States Senate to again reject the nominations of Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. of Mississippi and Judge Priscilla R. Owen of Texas to federal appeals court judgeships and called on President George W. Bush to nominate mainstream judicially balanced judges that respect our nation's civil rights laws. Local branches in Mississippi and Texas initiated opposition to both nominations.

With local branches in Mississippi and Texas taking the lead, the NAACP will continue to oppose the nominations of Pickering and Owen for seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Each has a record and judicial temperament that consistently reflects opposition to civil rights.

Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, said: "The re-nomination of failed judicial candidate Charles Pickering is a clear signal that the party of Lott has no intention of becoming the party of Lincoln and that they'll continue to play the race card and practice the politics of racial division. Judge Pickering's past racist behavior on the bench and his writings opposing interracial marriage ought to disqualify him from the post he now occupies. Elevating him is a sop to the racial politics that has proven so successful for the Republican Party from Barry Goldwater in 1964 through 2002. They have no shame!"

Eugene Bryant, president of the Mississippi State Conference of NAACP Branches, said: "In light of the hateful and bigoted remarks by Senator Trent Lott, the senate sponsor of Judge Pickering, we had hoped the President would choose to move beyond this difficult time for many Mississippians and indeed, the entire nation. Instead, with the re-nomination of Judge Pickering, President Bush allows old wounds to fester and engenders racial divisiveness for years to come."

President Bush announced the nomination of Pickering and Owen on Tuesday, after the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected both candidates last March. A vote is expected within the next month.

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