Part II of a II Part Series
For citizens of color this election could well mean the death nail in the coffin, especially in view of the fact that federal courts are now being stacked with young, ultra conservative, Republican judges and justices who will sit on the bench for the next thirty or forty years. These conservative judges and justices (some who are unqualified and have little or no experience) are predicted to move quickly and with vengeance to overturn or weaken the existence of national liberal policies and ultimately overturn the Affordable Health Care Act, the case of Roe V Wade, overturning gay and lesbian marriages, deciding in favor of striking down the 1965 Voting Rights Act as being unconstitutional and no longer needed and are eager to uphold white supremacy views and philosophy .
The successful appointment of a new justice to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will create a conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court. Whomever is appointed is expected to repay the favor of having been selected and appointed by the president by rubber stamping and doing the president’s bidding, as has been done by the people’s Attorney General Bill Barr. These new federal bench appointees will in all probability waste no time in moving swiftly to uphold state’s requests to limit voter participation, uphold the government’s goal to outlaw a free press, ruling favorably on state’s requests to limit expansions of Federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, addressing issues regarding lack of fair and affordable housing opportunities embedded throughout our society as well as gentrification of communities across America, the notion of scaling back Social Security benefits, outlawing affirmative action programs and granting more powers to the executive branch of government should president Trump be re-elected.
Stacking the Federal courts with young, white, aggressive, conservative judges is indicative of President Trump’s goal to seal the fate of his non supporters and reward his supporters. The Trump administration has taken a page from the playbook of the late former President Richard Nixon. Nixon defined Politics as “rewarding your friends and punishing the hell out of your enemies.” Over the last four years President Trump is credited with having appointed more Federal Judges and Justices than any President other than former President Jimmy Carter. Research data show that President Trump with the aid of Senate Majority leader and fellow Republican Mitch McConnel has made 198 appointments to federal benches across the nation. Of this record- speed breaking number of appointments, (198 being appointed), there has not been one African Amerian appointed under the Trump Administration.
Judges and justices who sit on the United States Supreme court and on lower subordinate federal courts speak and rule on important matters affecting the entire nation, matters regarding job discrimination within corporate America, racial injustice and inequality across the land, disparities in our educational and health care systems, voter’s rights and voter suppression by states, women’s rights and who and how many citizens will sit in trial court jury boxes to name a few. They will have the final say about the nation’s important business affairs, its social, economic, and political agenda. It is believed and felt by many political commentators that these judges and justices (who are appointed for life) will play to the politics of reshaping America’s future, rather than being concerned about what is the just, fair and honorable thing to do. Consequently, the playing field of justice will never be leveled.
Thoughts concerning the outcome of the 2002 election have given writers, legal scholars and pundits much to think and write about. The stakes are high, and reporters and writers must continue to cover as many aspects concerning this election as possible. I will continue to write about the 2020 election because there is a need for the public to be kept abreast as to what is going on, the public needs to hear both sides of the story. Having worked in the field of Criminal Justice and consumer advocacy for much of my professional life and having been subjected to a life of fending for poor and disadvantaged citizens across the nation, I have witnessed firsthand the cruelty and unfair treatment visited upon citizens who were barely hanging to the last rung of the social and economic ladders. These experiences have provided me and other troopers with a unique perspective, a frontline view, and have compelled us to become advocates, trench men, servants of the people, soldiers for justice, racial equality and fairness, and to become a small, faint voice for those who have no one to speak for them. Our work has been and continues to be about the fulfilment of justice in America.
We learned very early in the struggles for Civil Rights and social justice that complacency is not an option. Why? Because the call of justice is an upward and lofty call that requires one to never give up or give in. It requires one to be persistent, keep praying, keep hoping, keep knocking, keep protesting, and keep beating on the doors of justice and equality until they are opened for all citizens. Advocates for social justice must never choose to become spectators during an election and opt to sit on the sideline while the game of life is being played down on the field by a team of questionable and unsavory politicians. What is important and needed most at this juncture is for citizens to get in the game, mobilize, REGISTER and VOTE and do so as if their lives depended upon it. Believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that YOUR vote will count and that by voting, you will have made a difference in the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election.
Remember that you are not only voting for your personal and family freedom, you are voting for freedom and justice from a nation that has oppressed a race of people (African Americans) for centuries. You are voting for quality health care for all citizens, for economic and racial justice, for a stand against police brutality in communities of color, against white supremacy, voting against voter suppression, and above all you are voting for a just and free society where all men and women are treated fairly. This is what is at stake in the 2020 elections!!
Every waking hour of the day, citizens and advocates must pursue the call of justice and equality and do so with a resolve never to turn back, to stop or turn around. Someone once reminded me that “justice will not arrive like a lightning bolt, but with persistence and resolve it will occur, all the days of our lives we must pursue justice”.
Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.