BALTIMORE (October 26, 2020)—Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement condemning the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to serve as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States:
“The Senate’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett is a travesty of justice. Today’s action will be condemned by history as an extraordinarily grotesque overreach by a president and Senators to place power and party over the voices and needs of the American people. Both the Senate and the Court will be irreparably damaged by the loss of integrity and legitimacy rendered by today’s action.
This was an illegitimate nomination from the start. More than sixty million Americans have now voted for the next President and the next Senate who should have selected the next Justice on the Supreme Court. Their voices will forever be silenced. As the coronavirus is increasing in intensity and reach, African Americans are still bearing the brunt, in lives and livelihoods lost. The Senate’s move to fill this seat at the expense of addressing the urgent needs of the American people is a dereliction of duty of the highest order.
Amy Coney Barrett will be a disaster for civil rights on the Court. She has questioned foundational principles such as whether the Fourteenth Amendment was properly adopted. She believes Brown v Board of Education has precedential value only because no one would challenge it, providing cold comfort given that 30 Trump-appointed judges refused to say Brown was correctly decided. Her repeated endorsement of discrimination in the workplace—including the shocking conclusions that separate can be equal when it comes to race, that use of racial epithets does not necessarily create a hostile work environment, and that longstanding civil rights enforcement tools can be severely restricted—mark a clear willingness to jettison longstanding civil rights precedents.
Judge Barrett’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee only fueled our fears. She completely misrepresented her holdings in discrimination cases. She refused to recognize systemic racism, and displayed a shocking ignorance about racism within the criminal justice system. She doubled down on modeling herself after Justice Scalia who called the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement.” She refused to acknowledge that voting discrimination exists, that voter intimidation is illegal, and that the president cannot use his authority to deny the vote to someone based on race.
The NAACP has fought to protect the Supreme Court since 1930, when we helped to defeat a Herbert Hoover nominee who believed Black people had no role in democracy. We will continue to fight for judges at all levels of the judiciary who are diverse, fair, and committed to progress in civil rights. This confirmation makes it all the more imperative to reclaim our courts in order to protect our civil rights now and for future generations.
This nomination battle shows exactly what’s at stake in this election. In this last week before Election Day, we emphatically encourage all Americans to vote. Our voices must be heard and honored.”
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.