This Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education. This unanimous decision held unconstitutional the explicit and intentional racial segregation of public institutions including public schools.
While there are still many ways that the American school system remains segregated, the Brown v. Board decision represents the promise of equal opportunities in education for everyone. All children, regardless of race, gender, class, disability, immigration status, deserve an equal opportunity to succeed and reach their potential. This week should be about celebrating that momentous legal victory and honoring the trailblazers and changemakers who paved the way for integration.
Instead, just one day before this historic anniversary, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Wendy Vitter to a lifetime position as a federal judge. Vitter started the appalling trend among extremist Trump judicial nominees of refusing to say whether Brown v. Board was correctly decided. While the effort by President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to confirm as many horrible nominees with terrible records on women’s health and civil rights is not new, it is especially disrespectful that her nomination is being considered on the eve of an anniversary that symbolizes our country’s turning point on ensuring that equal means equal. Brown v. Board is also a reminder that, for better or for worse, the judiciary wields incredible power. It’s a power that can be exercised to broaden our opportunities—or, in the wrong hands, to curtail them.
If Wendy Vitter can’t commit to affirming Brown v. Board, the landmark case that ended legal school segregation, how can we trust her to render decisions as a judge that uphold our core constitutional rights and protections? Vitter has a clear record demonstrating that she vehemently opposes reproductive rights; for example, she has spread ridiculous and false claims about abortion and breast cancer and supported an anti-abortion law later struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. We cannot allow someone who holds such extreme views on core constitutional rights to get a lifetime position as a judge. We need to tell senators that courts matter and demand that they stop this reckless and dangerous nomination.