In response to Thursday’s Senate vote to confirm Michael Brennan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District and President and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson jointly denounced the Senate’s decision to abandon its longstanding deference to home-state senators and vote on a judicial nominee from Wisconsin over the objection of Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. Yesterday, the NAACP delivered a six-page letter outlining its strong objections to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore stated:
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to ignore decades of precedent by disregarding Senator Baldwin’s ‘blue slip’ objection to the nomination of Milwaukee attorney Michael Brennan is yet another egregious example of Republicans undermining Senate norms in their attempts to push through radical and unqualified judges. Despite their routine use of blue slips to block President Obama’s nominees, it now seems GOP Senators are disavowing the practice to ensure the lifetime appointment of another white judge to an all-white appellate circuit. The Republican hypocrisy is sure to cast a shadow on our nation’s judicial branch – the consequences of which will be felt for years to come.”
Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, stated:
“The Senate stands at the height of hypocrisy in casting aside its longstanding practice of respecting home-state Senators’ views just to confirm more Trump judges. We know only too well how ironclad this practice was. For decades, the Senate cited the views of home-state Senators as the reason for refusing to confirm nominees of color to the federal courts. Courts remained segregated or were denied more diversity because of that deference. That this tradition is finally upended to confirm a white nominee to the all-white Seventh Circuit is not lost on us.”
“The Seventh Circuit covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. It has over seven million residents of color. Since losing its only judge of color to retirement last year, it has again become an all-white court - the only such circuit court in the country. This is a development none of us should tolerate.”
“Michael Brennan’s confirmation to this circuit court is an insult. This is the nominee who refused to answer Senator Cory Booker’s question about whether racism exists in the criminal justice system. This is unacceptable for any nominee, but particularly one who has a background as a prosecutor and state court judge known for harshly sentencing persons of color. The thought that Mr. Brennan could hear appeals from Milwaukee and Chicago regarding race discrimination in the criminal justice system is absolutely chilling.”