Watch This How to show up for racial justice
Part 1 of Leaders Forum 2022
More of This She is one of the best judges I’ve ever seen
Elie Honig is a former federal and state prosecutor.
In November 2019, I covered a hearing for CNN on a US House of Representatives subpoena to former White House counsel Don McGahn. The federal district court judge presiding over the case was then largely unknown to the general public, but now may be on the precipice of a nomination to the United States Supreme Court: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
As a prosecutor, I appeared before dozens of federal and state judges. I don't say this lightly: Jackson was as impressive on the bench as any of them, ranking among the absolute finest judges I've ever seen in action.
On the day of the hearing, Jackson immediately made clear that she was in charge of her courtroom, but she did it without ego or drama. She commanded respect by her presence, by her obvious level of preparation and by the dignified way she treated the parties before her.
Some judges struggle to control their courtrooms and the attorneys before them, while others are unnecessarily domineering and arrogant. Jackson naturally found a perfect middle ground, keeping firm control of the proceedings, while also creating an environment of respect and professionalism.
Jackson plainly had read and absorbed the parties' briefs -- candidly, not all judges do that -- and she asked incisive, penetrating questions that challenged the core assertions made by both sides. She understood the facts of the case and the law, perhaps in more depth even than some of the attorneys before her.
Read the story on CNN
Speaking Of… Black women have always nurtured the next generation of Black lawyers
Angela Robinson is a Retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge and the author of "First Black Women Judges: The Story of Three Black Women Judges in the United States."
President Biden has promised to appoint a Black woman to the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy, which would mark a long-overdue milestone. Biden has quietly and consistently been keeping his promise to enrich the federal courts with much-needed diverse talent, particularly the talent of women of color and, more specifically, Black women.
Now, with Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s pending retirement, Biden has an opportunity to make good on his promise about the next Supreme Court justice. Over the past century, Black women have earned their right to be represented on the court. They have proved themselves as able lawyers since 1872, as wise judicial magistrates and judges in state courts since 1939, in the federal court system since 1966 and as state Supreme Court justices and judges since 1975. Their absence on the Supreme Court is a stark reminder of the inequity of the legal system — especially given the historic contributions Black women have made to it.
When afforded the opportunity, Black women have proved themselves to be excellent jurists who improve the judicial system for the betterment of all.
Judge Jane Bolin became the first Black female judge in the country in 1939. Her path demonstrated how being a first means charting a new route. A graduate of Wellesley College, where Bolin entered as one of only two Black women in her class and, later, the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, Bolin became a New York Family Court Judge at the young age of 31 in 1939. Gov. Fiorello LaGuardia appointed her, in part, in response to the continuing racial tensions and divisions in New York City. As a vocal and active member and leader of the NAACP, Bolin viewed her role as being a judicial pioneer. Along with other like-minded judges and government officials, she helped change racist laws and policies, including one that had assigned the files of children of color only to social workers of color. That race-based assignment system meant that children of color waited longer in the system for services than White children.
Read the story on Washington Post
Less of This If SCOTUS bans affirmative action, it will continue this country’s racist legacy
Erwin Chemerinsky is dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.
The Supreme Court granting review on Monday to two cases about affirmative action is an ominous sign for diversity in higher education and advancing racial equality. Given the composition of the court, it seems very likely that the six conservative justices will use these cases to ban any form of affirmative action in the United States.
The two cases — one involving the University of North Carolina and one involving Harvard — both deal with this question: Can universities continue to use race as one factor in admissions decisions to enhance diversity on campus?
In the UNC case, the challengers argue that the affirmative action program, which the university says fosters educational diversity, violates the Constitution’s requirement of equal protection. In the Harvard case, the challengers accuse the private university of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discriminating based on race. They claim Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants by penalizing them for subjective personal traits.
Under long-standing decisions going back to the 1970s, the Supreme Court has upheld the use of affirmative action programs in college admissions as constitutional. The court has consistently found that universities have a compelling interest in having a diverse student body and may consider race as one factor among many factors in admissions to benefit students of color.
Read the story on LA Times
February 10 at 12 Noon PST
For those of us already on the margins--Black, Non Black POC, queer, and non binary folks--how can we build professional connections while still staying true to our identities?
Virtual event on February 10. Register here >
February 23 at 12 Noon PST
This workshop will focus on building humanity and recognizing privilege within yourself and your organization so Black and non-Black stakeholders of color can thrive.
Virtual event on February 23. Register here >
Leadership Fellowship for Trans and GNC people
Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) develops trans leadership in philanthropy to strengthen the pipeline of trans professionals in the field, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of trans people working and taking leadership in philanthropy.
Apply here >