According to the Huffington Post, on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves criticized President Trump’s, comparing his attacks to tactics used by the Ku Klux Klan and segregationists. Reeves delivered the speech at the University of Virginia School of Law, his alma mater.
“When politicians attack courts as ‘dangerous,’ ‘political’ and guilty of ‘egregious overreach,’ you can hear the Klan’s lawyers, assailing officers of the court across the South,” said Reeves
“When the powerful accuse courts of ‘open[ing] up our country to potential terrorists,’ you can hear the Southern Manifesto’s authors, smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black folk,” Reeves continued, referencing a Southern congressman’s 1956 manifesto which rebuked Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
“When lawmakers say ‘we should get rid of judges,’ you can hear segregationist Senators, writing bills to strip courts of their power. And when the Executive Branch calls our courts and their work ‘stupid,’ ‘horrible,’ ‘ridiculous,’ ‘incompetent,’ ‘a laughingstock,’ and a ‘complete and total disgrace,’ you can hear the slurs and threats of executives like George Wallace, echoing into the present,” he said, referring to Alabama’s pro-segregation governor, elected in 1962.
Sitting judges generally do not criticize the president so vehemently. They often abide by a judicial ethics code of impartiality. In 2016, for example, Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg was criticized for attacking then-candidate Trump. She later had to apologize.
Reeves also addressed the lack of diversity in Trump’s judicial nominees. The majority of his nominees have been white men.
“Think: In a country where they make up just 30% of the population, non-Hispanic white men make up nearly 70% of this Administration’s confirmed judicial appointees,” said Reeves, who was appointed by former President Obama. “That’s not what America looks like. That’s not even what the legal profession looks like.”
“It is not enough for judges, seeing race-based attacks on their brethren, to say they are merely ‘disheartened,’ or to simply affirm their non-partisan status,” he added. “We must do more to defend our bench.”
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