Judge choice showed poor judgment

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2002

Editor, the News-Herald:

Much to the surprise of many, the administration and the Republican delegation passed on the opportunity to appoint an African-American to the open Circuit Court judicial position in Suffolk and has instead appointed a white male attorney. Suffolk’s history is that it has never had an African-American serve in that court since its creation. No woman has ever been appointed to served as a full-time judge in that court either. While Suffolk’s population approaches a 50/50 split between whites and blacks, having three full-time judges that are all white men says a lot about what is being done to balance inequities and create diversity.

There were four qualified African-American lawyers who practice and have practiced in that city for a number of years and expressed an interest in the position, and one sitting African-American female in a lower court. This latest appointment shows a lack of support for African-Americans and women.

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One candidate in particular fit all of the models. She was female, African-American, qualified, Republican, and had the support of the Democratic delegation. The community is outraged that despite all of its efforts to move the Commonwealth forward and to bring people closer together for the good of all of the citizens, a few are still unwilling to break the chains that divide us and instead only pay lip service to the causes that need to be championed.

This latest situation was both a litmus test for the Republican party that so often talks about doing the right thing, and the Democratic administration, which relied heavily on the vote of African-Americans.

It seems to me that African-Americans will have to unite with other minority groups to vote in blocks of strength to protect the interests of minorities across the board.

Carlos A. Howard