Sunday, August 19, 2007

Judicial Nominees and "Good 'Ol Niggers"


One of the dopest things about having legal training is the way that I read the newspaper.

I pay attention to what people say.
What they don't say and the evidence that they use to prove their points.

Last week, I found myself paying really close attention to what George Will of the Washington Post was saying about Obama.

As soon as I read this sentence,

It was hoped that Obama would be impatient with the ritualized choreography of synthetic indignation that degrades racial discourse.He is, however, unoriginal and unjust regarding the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction is Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
I thought that, alright, who is Southwick and does he have a hood in his closet? Smell me?

George Will went on to make some interesting assertions, that piqued my interest.

First he said

Southwick, currently a law professor, joined the Army Reserve in 1992 at age 42 and in 2003 transferred to a National Guard combat unit heading to Iraq, where he served 17 months. He is now 57 and until last December was a member of a Mississippi appellate court. The American Bar Association, not a nest of conservatives, has given him its highest rating ("well qualified") for the 5th Circuit.

But because he is a white Mississippian, many liberals consider him fair game for unfairness. Many say his defect is "insensitivity," an accusation invariably made when specific grievances are few and flimsy.

First of all the American Bar Association is not the arbiter of all things progressive in the legal field. It is an organization that has strengths and weaknesses. NAACP and its ban of the N-word anyone?

He then wrote:

Obama, touching all the Democratic nominating electorate's erogenous zones, concocts a tortured statistic about Southwick's "disappointing record on cases involving consumers, employees, racial minorities, women and gays and lesbians. After reviewing his 7,000 opinions, Judge Southwick could not find one case in which he sided with a civil rights plaintiff in a non-unanimous verdict." Surely the pertinent question is whether Southwick sided with the law.

Concocts implies that they are far fetched and irrelevant.

Because of my legal lens, I know that cases can be argued either on the LAW
or on the facts. As an attorney, you use the argument that is more favorable to your client, so, George Will's assertion is out of pocket because as a judge, you look at the law, the facts, which public policy interests are being served and you come to a conclusion.

And finally, he writes,

To some of Southwick's opponents, his merits are irrelevant. They simply say that it is unacceptable that only one of the 17 seats on the 5th Circuit is filled with an African American, although 37 percent of Mississippians are black. This "diversity" argument suggests that courts should be considered representative institutions, like legislatures, and that the theory of categorical representation is valid: People of a particular race, ethnicity or gender can only be understood and properly represented by people of the same category.

Mr. Will did so much in these three sentences, I had to read that 'ish three times to get what he was saying. My question is WHO'S interest are being served by only having one Black judge in a district where the population is 37% Black.

What about the fact that this is Mississippi?
Civil Right's Mississippi.
Freedom Rides Mississippi.
Emmitt Tills Mississippi.

My question for Mr. Will is how is democracy served by having 1 or 0 Black judges in a district that has a 37% Black population.


What would HE think if HE were a Black person living in that district?

Study after study has indicated that white men are more likely to promote people that look like them, and people who they feel most comfortable with, other white men.
Sociologist William T. Bielby is the leading courtroom proponent of a simple but powerful theory: "unconscious bias." He contends that white men will inevitably slight women and minorities because they just can't help themselves. So he tries to convince judges that no evidence of overt discrimination -- no smoking gun memo, for instance -- is needed to prove a case. As Allen G. King, an employment defense attorney at the Dallas office of Littler Mendelson, puts it: "I just have to leave you to your own devices, and because you are a white male," you will discriminate.

The key flaw that Bielby typically finds in the companies he testifies against is that they give managers too much discretion and let them rely on too many subjective factors in hiring, promotion, and pay. In that kind of unfettered atmosphere, he says, all people (not just white men) unknowingly revert to stereotypes in making decisions.

Will's argument reminds me of Martin's quote,
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

The rule in the "Good Ol Nigger Case" was,

"that the agency given broad latitude to review such discipline had not abused its discretion in deciding that the firing was disproportionate punishment, given that the woman had a hitherto unblemished record and the man, although offended, said the woman's words had caused no workplace problem. By law, the court could not overturn the agency's actions without finding legal error or "arbitrary and capricious" judgment."

Who is to say that her calling him a "good 'ol n*gger" didn't cause a workplace problem?
A problem for whom? Who was interviewed? How was it analyzed?

I did more diggin' and found another perspective on the same case. Mick Arran writes,
In 1998, Southwick joined a ruling in an employment case that upheld the reinstatement, without any punishment whatsoever, of a white state employee who was fired for calling an African American co-worker a “good ole nigger.” The court’s decision effectively ratified a hearing officer’s opinion that the slur was only “somewhat derogatory” and “was in effect calling the individual a ‘teacher’s pet.’” The Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision.
I find it interesting that she was reinstated without ANY punishment. George Will, on the other hand mentions that she had an unblemished record. That she was a STATE EMPLOYEE, which means that she was arguably an agent of the state, which creates a whole other set of legal issues. See how important the facts are?

When did you learned about Emmit Till?

If you are JUST now learning about him what do you think?



Anonymous said...

1) If you really want to get your fill of Will, go to the source, the Washington Post. And check out Broder while you're there.

2) Full disclosure, i cut for Will. Maybe it's the bowties. Maybe b/c i love this quote:

"Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings."

3) That said, i think he's wrong, and he's blinded by white entitlement, plain and simple.

4) What you call "facts," i would label "equity," which takes our system of law back to its British roots.

5) The "Good Ol Nigger" case came out of left field in the post. I needed more set-up or background info.

Or maybe i'm just slow. ;-)

Now i can see why you didn't answer your phone.

M.Dot. said...

You get out of my phone.

You stop posting/answering in outline fashion.

I think I like you. Sends e-*wink*.

M.Dot. said...


Here is your ahem- equity, smart ass.

Anonymous said...

1st response = Oliver North treatment of my comments.


Thank God my girl doesn't read this blog. She's not big on women e-flirting w/ me.

She would find you.

Brooklyn. Oakland. Or any Texas spot in between.

She's kinda trill like that.

And she's believes in redistribution of wealth.

Anonymous said...

My slow ass got lost along the way, so I hope I'm answering the question right.

I first got introduced to Emmit Till when I was...4 or 5.
I went to visit my father and the bastard showed me and my sisters THAT picture of him.
I'll never forget that picture. Imagine that. Black boy seeing that shit at 4 years old. It changed my whole way of thinking.

M.Dot. said...

My slow ass got lost along the way
First time I laughed today.
And I WOKE UP depressed.

I went to visit my father and the bastard showed me and my sisters THAT picture of him.
Daddies be off tha hook.

Mine is obnox as fuck.

Anonymous said...

-First time I laughed today.
And I WOKE UP depressed.-

Lol. Well, glad I could be the source of that.

-Daddies be off tha hook.

Mine is obnox as fuck.-


BeautyinBaltimore said...

Law school stuff, girl you know I only have a BA.
Personally, I think there are only things(culturly) that can be understood by someone from that race.That said, I think it is a lot easier for a white woman to understand minotrites than a white man.

In America white males are the most privaledged group. When they are being discrimanated against they find it diffucult to understand and deal with.

Read the S.Korea blog for more details.

That sister has written a few posts on the diffculties that white Americans and white men in particular have with being discrimnated against.

I learned about Emmit Till in elementary and Middle schools. I also learned more about him in High school and University. When I orignaly learned about Emmit I found it strange that white men would kill a black boy for whisling at a white woman since black men did not like white women in that way(I was young).

I guess there are things about men that only other men know and understand and sex. Therefore white men were bent on protecting white women.

I think it all boils down to men protecting their right to "pussy". Basically, men want to have as much "potential pussy"(women that they may or may not sleep with but at the very least there is a chance) as possible.

This is also why many black men try to discurage black women from dating outside of the race even if they are guilty of race mixing.

M.Dot. said...

I think it all boils down to men protecting their right to "pussy".
You are a f*cking nut!

This is outta pocket on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Basically, men want to have as much "potential pussy"(women that they may or may not sleep with but at the very least there is a chance) as possible.



M.Dot. said...

I think BIB needs to do a guest post on the "potential pussy" theory.

BeautyinBaltimore said...

Even to your male friends you are seen as potential pus*y, thats why they won't let lose around you in the same way that they will with their male friends. Most men detest the idea of being put down or beat up in front of women for the simple fact that he will become unatrractive to many of those women who in turn will most likly not give him any.
M.Dot I think I might have to write a post about this theroy.

M.Dot. said...



M.Dot. said...

I may want to co-write it with you.

***Thinks about How much game I MIGHT be giving up fo free.

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