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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2011
For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137
Mrs. Amina Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
Atty. Jennifer Marsh, Legal Redress Coordinator, 919-682-4700
Atty. Irv Joyner, Legal Redress Chair, 919-530-6293
Atty. Al McSurely, Communications Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
NAACP Decries the Fact that North Carolina is Last Among Southern States in African-American Representation in Judicial Appointments and Implores North Carolina’s Senators to Support African-American Appointments
Press Conference to be Scheduled in Eastern North Carolina Early Next Week
DURHAM – The North Carolina NAACP is releasing an open letter to North Carolina’s US Senators, calling on them to address the embarrassing and pernicious history of African-American appointments to North Carolina’s Federal District Courts. As of this week, the North Carolina NAACP is mobilizing our 125+ adult, youth and college NAACP units and our 110+ HKonJ Coalition partners to make calls to the offices of Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan to demand they nominate an African American to serve as a federal District Court Judge in the Eastern District, where roughly half of the state’s African American population resides and where every county with a majority African American population is located, as well as ensure equity in future appointments across the state.
October 25, 2011
The Honorable Richard Burr
The Honorable Kay Hagan
United States Senate
Re: Appointment of an African American Judge to North Carolina’s Federal District Court
Dear Senators Burr and Hagan:
The North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches strongly urges you to recommend the nomination and appointment of an African American to the vacancy on the United States District Court in North Carolina. It is important that the judiciary reflects the racial diversity of North Carolina. Our examination of the presence of African Americans who serve as Judges on the three District Courts in this State shows an abysmal failure by our political leadership to recognize and appoint qualified African Americans to serve as District Court Judges. Therefore we urge you to immediately identify and recommend the appointment of qualified African Americans, to rectify this shameful history of exclusion.
With only one African American federal District Court Judge presently seated, North Carolina has the least diverse bench of all states in the South. President Bill Clinton appointed James Beatty, who is eligible to retire in 2014. If he does, North Carolina would have no African American representation. Furthermore, 17 years have passed since the last time an African American was appointed.
We are the nation’s 10th largest State with a 22% African American population, but in our history we have had only two African Americans to serve as federal District Court Judges. The two, Richard Erwin and James Beatty, were appointed to serve in the Middle District of North Carolina. Not one African American has ever served as a Judge in either the Eastern or Western Districts. In particular, it is an obscenity that there has never been an African American Federal Judge in the Eastern District where roughly half of North Carolina’s African American population resides, North Carolinians who have never been represented on their federal District Court. This exclusion is unacceptable and an embarrassment to this State and its African American community.
As you know, President George Bush nominated nine individuals to North Carolina District Courts and each one of those nominees was white and only one was a woman. Thus far, based upon your recommendations, President Barack Obama has appointed two Whites to seats on North Carolina’s federal bench. As North Carolina’s elected Senators who are responsible for making nominations to the President, we demand you represent all your constituents and change the racial disparities which presently exist within our federal court system. We implore you to support an African American for the third appointment and ensure equity in future appointments.
Yours in the Spirit of Truth and Justice,
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
President, North Carolina NAACP
CC: North Carolina NAACP Branches
Benjamin Todd Jealous, National NAACP President and CEO
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