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National Civil Rights Leaders Urge Congress to Appoint an African American Senator to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

For Immediate Release December 13, 2017

Washington, D.C. – A broad coalition of civil rights and racial justice organizations, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader, Charles Schumer (D-NY), urging Senate leadership to appoint an African American Senator to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Just one African American has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee in its 201-year history. In their letter sent Wednesday, leading civil rights organizations urged Senate leadership to recognize the importance of different perspectives and diversity on the Committee which has jurisdiction over important issues including voting rights and criminal justice reform.

The letter states: “We find it deeply concerning that only one African American Senator (Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill)) has served on this distinguished body in its 201 year history; and in the 22 years since her transition, no African American Senator has been given the opportunity to serve.”

In addition to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the letter is joined by the NAACP, National Action Network, National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

The letter is available online.

December 13, 2017

The Honorable Charles Schumer

322 Hart Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510

Re: Letter Urging the Appointment of an African American to Serve on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Dear Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer,

On behalf of the national racial and social justice organizations listed below, we write to express our firm support for the appointment of an African American Senator to serve on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (“Senate Judiciary Committee”). As organizations with a history of working collaboratively to protect civil rights and advance the cause of racial justice, we are at an unprecedented moment where the faith in the institutions of our federal government have been shaken. Now, more than ever, an African American member should be added to the ranks of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee serves as one of the most critical subcommittees in Congress. Charged with both oversight and legislative responsibilities, this body has long-served as a check on the appointment powers of the Executive Branch. In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee exercises broad jurisdiction over matters that relate to civil rights, issues that deeply impact the everyday lives of African Americans.  We find it deeply concerning that only one African American Senator (Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill)) has served on this distinguished body in its 201 year history; and in the 22 years since her transition, no African American Senator has been given the opportunity to serve.

We are indeed at an unprecedented moment in history where a record number of African American Senators serve in Congress. This vacancy creates the opportunity to further diversify the perspectives and voices overseeing issues that impact the most vulnerable communities in our country. We urge Senate Leadership to ensure that the voice of the African American community is reflected, not only in its mission, but in its makeup.

We strongly support the appointment of an African American Senator to fill the current vacancy on the Judiciary Committee. We thank you for your consideration of the points raised in this letter. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Kim Tignor, Director of Public Policy at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, at (202) 662-8310 or [email protected]

Sincerely,

Kristen Clarke

President and Executive Director

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Marc Morial

CEO

National Urban League

 

Derrick Johnson

President and CEO

NAACP

 

Rev. Al Sharpton

Founder and President

National Action Network

 

Melanie Campbell

President and CEO

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

 

Sherrilyn Ifill

President and Director-Counsel

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

 

Vanita Gupta

President and CEO

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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