Since inauguration, President Trump has aggressively pushed to fill courts around the country with conservative judges. This marks a stark departure from The White Houses’ behavior surrounding filling much-needed vacancies. Recently, Wendy Vitter, one of Trump’s picks for a federal judgeship for the Eastern District of Louisiana, stumbled over a very simple question regarding one of the country’s most famous cases.
According to The Hill, when asked whether she believed Brown vs. The Board of Education was decided correctly by the Supreme Court, Vitter answered:
“Senator, I don’t mean to be coy, but I think I get into a difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions — which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with.
Again, my personal, political or religious views I would set aside. That is Supreme Court precedent. It is binding. If I were honored to be confirmed, I would be bound by it and of course I would uphold it.”
Saying that you would enforce the law as it exists in the country is not only a low bar to clear for a federal judge – it’s your job.
To recap, Brown vs. The Board of Education was a collection of four different cases that made their way up to the Supreme Court – all dealing with the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of segregation in education. Up until that time, the precedent of the Plessy vs. Ferguson was in place, arguing that separate facilities for black students didn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, if those facilities were “equal” (they rarely were.) According to Oyez, a multimedia judicial archive of the Supreme Court of the United States:
“The Court also held that the segregation of public education based on race instilled a sense of inferiority that had a hugely detrimental effect on the education and personal growth of African American children.”
This is what Wendy Vitter equivocated on when she didn’t give an answer. She declined to give an answer on whether or not she thinks segregation is wrong. And her refusal to give an answer can give us a pretty good indication of what it might’ve been had she given one.
Image provided via video screenshot (The Hill)