Courts Should Reflect the People They Serve

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Former Judicial Court Candidate, Claudia Barber.
Former Judicial Court Candidate, Claudia Barber.

The United States Supreme Court was established in 1789. Only four of the 112 justices to serve on the Supreme Court have been women. Only two African-Americans have ever served on the Supreme Court since its inception.

When Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, she became the first woman to serve. Her historical appointment paved the way for other women who would follow her. Currently, they are three women on this nine member court.

This is the reason why last year’s judicial election in Anne Arundel County, Maryland continues to resonate.

Former Washington, D.C. Administrative Law Judge Claudia Barber’s historical candidacy focused attention on an execrable fact: no African-American woman, Asian or Latino has ever served on this bench in its over 366 year history.

Following the unsuccessful 2016 candidacy of Judge Barber, there have been numerous demonstrations to keep that fact in the public eye. Demonstrations have occurred in front of the Court House on Church Circle and the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial in Annapolis, Maryland.

How do you explain that no black woman, Asian or Latino has ever served? Clearly there are competent, talented people of color. Many have applied and yet, regardless of the party of the Governor in office – Democrat or Republican – no governor has ever appointed an Asian or Latino to serve.

Obviously, courts at every level should reflect the people they serve. On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 5:00 P.M., retired U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. will speak to the Caucus of African-American Leaders on this subject. Judge Williams’ lecture is open to the public and will take place at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville Street, Annapolis, Maryland.

In our lifetime, we intend to see to it that the currently all-white Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in the State of Maryland reflects the people that it serves and the taxpayers who subsidize it.

Join us as we seek to break down racial and gender barriers.

A Luta Continua!

Carl Snowden is a political and civil rights leader in Annapolis.

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