In an article, Equality or Payback – Uncle Tom Extraordinaire Tommy Sowell argues that the selection of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is “payback” for years of conservative racism, by appointing a “racist”. He goes on to claim —
Some judicial nominees have had racial bias attributed to them, despite their years of unwavering support of civil rights for all– Judge Robert Bork and Judge Charles Pickering being striking examples.
Bork was Borked because of his extremist conservative views which by their nature included racism and the support of re-segregation… And this comment didn’t help –
Bork opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling it “an unwanted intrusion on the right of individuals to choose with whom to associate.”
Hardly a “wise white man” moment – just plain old racism. But the principle reason for Borking Bork had to do with his extremist politics.
But Judge Charles Pickering?
The argument is repeated by Mona Charen cloaked as an appeal to reason in It’s Not Fair To Casually Call People Racist where Mona announces –
In point of fact, Judge Pickering had been a friend to civil rights throughout his career.
Charles Pickering, Sr. will join other panelists this Thursday at The Federalist Society of Mississippi’s luncheon to discuss “The U.S. Senate Minority’s Role in Judicial Confirmations.”
Pickering lied about his efforts “to establish better race relations” in the 1960s both in and after his confimation rejection – discovered in the papers of Pickering’s former law partner, the devoted segregationist J. Carroll Gartin.
The evidence, found during his confimation hearing, housed at the University of Mississippi Library, shows that Pickering’s decision to defect to the Republicans — a key turning point in his public career — came at the strong urging of Gartin, who as lieutenant governor from 1956 to 1960 and again from 1964 until his sudden death in 1966 was a leading member of Mississippi’s notoriously racist Sovereignty Commission.
Gartin’s papers — including his personal letters and other private documents, plus memos, press releases and news clippings from the time — also confirm, in more detail than ever before, that Pickering became a Republican in 1964 to protest the national Democratic Party’s support for civil rights and its attacks on segregation — a motive the judge refused to acknowledge in his testimony last year.
Instead of “trying to establish better race relations” in the 1960s, Pickering worked to support segregation, attack civil rights advocates who sought to end Jim Crow, and back those who opposed national civil rights legislation, above all the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, in the words of a public statement he signed in 1967, Pickering wanted to preserve “our southern way of life,” and he bitterly blamed civil rights workers for stirring up “turmoil and racial hatred” in the South.