Justice Janice Rogers Brown
The battle is heating up once again surrounding President Bush’s judicial nominations. And the confirmation Janice Rogers Brown to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals stands center stage in this conflict.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a press conference held by supposed civil rights groups.
Civil rights groups said Monday that California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown is hostile to anti-discrimination laws and accused President Bush of exploiting racial divisions in promoting her nomination to a powerful federal appeals court.
Notice that no one disputes Justice Brown’s qualifications. Like all of the president’s nominees, she comes highly rated by the American Bar Association. And she is praised by her peers on the California Supreme Court, liberal and conservatives alike. The issues surrounding Janice Rogers Brown are those of race and ideology.
They’re hoping that people will feel uncomfortable opposing an African American woman whose father was a sharecropper,” Eva Paterson, president of the Equal Justice Society, said at a San Francisco news conference. “It is not racist to oppose her.”
“She is hostile to equal opportunity and diversity policies, and her opinions show a radical right-wing agenda,” said Paul Turner of the Greenlining Institute, which is a member of the coalition and itself comprises 40 minority organizations, including the California Black Chamber of Commerce and several African American churches.
Janice Rogers Brown has become a lightning rod for liberals because she is Black. But as a conservative, she does not subscribe to typical liberal racist ways of thinking.
Liberals think that Blacks cannot be successful without the government’s help. They don’t believe that Blacks can go out and get jobs, so the government must take care of them. They don’t believe that Blacks can be successful in school, so they wish to lower the standards for graduation so that Black students will feel better about themselves. They believe that Blacks are victims of a racist system, so they should not be held responsible for their actions; as if we are incapable of controlling ourselves. This is what liberal racists think of us. And sadly, they have been successful in getting most Blacks to buy into this view of themselves. It’s nothing more than psychological slavery.
But Janice Rogers Brown challenges that image. A successful Black woman with Brown’s humble beginnings and yet also possesses conservative world view, is contrary to the dependent characterization liberals wish to paint of us. And they are worried that through her example, we will break free from that persona and their control over us.
In a recent commentary, Sacramento Bee, Associate Editor Ginger Rutland, a Black liberal herself offered:
Championed by conservatives, Brown terrifies my liberal friends. They worry she will end up on the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t.
I find myself rooting for Brown. I hope she survives the storm and eventually becomes the first black woman on the nation’s highest court.
I want her there because I believe she worries about the things that most worry me about our justice system: bigotry, unequal treatment and laws and police practices that discriminate against people who are black and brown and weak and poor.
While it is good to hear that Rutland supports Justice Brown. But I believe that her support is for all the wrong reasons. She states that she believes that Janice Brown will stand up for the poor and for minorities. Not that so say that she won’t, but what she actually will stand up for is the rule of law. And she believes that those laws should be applied equally, to all citizens, regardless of their race or socio-economic background. Meanwhile, Rutland like many liberals is interested only in selective justice.
I only know that I want judges on those courts who will defend the rights of the poor and the disenfranchised in our country against the rich and the powerful when the rich and the powerful are wrong.
Is this to say that the poor are incapable of doing wrong? What about minorities who break the law? Justice Brown, as do most conservatives, believes in equal justice for all citizens; not selective justice.
If there is one thing I have learned from my experience as a parent and as an educator; it is that people will rise the expectation levels set for them. Liberals believe in lowering the bar for minorities, believing that they are incapable of succeeding on a level playing field. Conservatives believe that given a level playing field, all Americans can compete and succeed, if they so choose.
I understand why Ginger Rutland thinks the way she does. She grew up as a Black woman in an era where race was the great divide. But as a part of the first generation born under the 1960’s Civil Rights legislation, I was born “Equal Under the Law”. And that has afforded me opportunities that were previously denied to my parents and even some of my older brothers and sisters. For those who are only 10 years older than I, race was often all that mattered.
The real question is, “Does race still matter today?” And I most emphatically believe that it does. It matters more than most conservatives are willing to admit. However, it does not matter as much as most liberals would have us believe. Contrary to Rutland’s assertions, there is not a rich white man waiting around every corner to oppress me. And while Blacks suffer injustice disproportionately as a race; not every injustice done to Blacks is because we are Black. Today the great divide is faith… Faith in Government or faith in one’s self.
The majority of the issues that we must deal with today; the breakdown of the family, violence in our neighborhoods and lack of parental involvement in our children’s education are all issues that disproportionately affect Blacks. However, these are issues we must address for ourselves. Only once we have gotten our house in order, can we truly address the race issue with White America.
But Black liberals don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that rich conservative white men are the source of all that is wrong in our lives. And that Black conservatives like Janice Rogers Brown and myself are nothing more than Aunt Jamimas and Uncle Toms because we dare think for ourselves.
Well, I won’t proport to speak for Justice Brown but as for me…Uncle Tom has left the plantation! And so should you!
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