National Lawyers Guild Calls for Value Shift in Supreme Court Nomination

April 11, 2010
Paige Cram
Communications Coordinator
212-679-5100, ext. 15

With President Obama poised to select his second Supreme Court nominee, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) advocates for a return to justices worthy of the title—ones who will put the interests of the downtrodden above those of transnational corporations, who will not compromise on the rights of women to reproductive justice, who will stand for true racial justice rather than the “blind justice” that preserves the status quo of white privilege, and who will protect the people against a government that cloaks itself in secrecy and invades the most private aspects of their lives.

In replacing Justice John Paul Stevens, whomever President Obama nominates will be reviled by many as a radical, socialist, activist judge. Stevens, a conscientious and principled jurist, has been labeled “left” only because, as he himself asserts, the Court has, over the last two generations, moved so far to the right. In that time, due in significant part to a number of Supreme Court decisions, economic inequality has increased dramatically. Most recently, the Court expanded corporations' rights to freedom of speech, even though they have no attributes of living, breathing, sentient beings. In addition, school integration – and thus the opportunity for poor African-Americans and other people of color to attend better schools – has come to a grinding halt. And the Chamber of Commerce’s priorities dominate the decisions of the Supreme Court and routinely deprive workers of their rights.

The NLG will not be satisfied with the nomination of a centrist, mainstream justice who will do little or nothing to reverse the routine elevation of corporate interests over individual rights. For example, potential nominees such as Elena Kagan, who calls for indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without trial and defines terrorism to include protected speech, are unacceptable.

President Obama will not nominate the kind of justice the times call for without a unified demand from the people. NLG President David Gespass said, “The right-wing demagogues cannot go unchallenged in defining the debate. There will be at least one voice saying a centrist is not good enough and that a moderate is no liberal. Our views will prevail because we speak for the interests of the people of the United States and the world.”

The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 and is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

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