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Senate Confirms 1st Black Judge To 5th Circuit

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has just confirmed James E. Graves Jr. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the federal appellate court that presides over Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Graves is the first African-American judge from Mississippi to serve on the Fifth Circuit.

“This is a historic vote for the diversity of the federal courts,” said Leslie Proll, the director of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). “Although Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans of any state in the country, the state has never been represented by an African American on the Fifth Circuit,”

Graves has served as a judge in the Mississippi court system since 1991. For the past 10 years, he has served on the state Supreme Court, where he was the only African-American justice.

President Barack Obama's judicial nominees have been the most diverse in American history, including large percentages of women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.  But during the last Congress, the Senate minority used secret holds and filibusters to delay or deny confirmation votes for these highly qualified, distinguished nominees, many of whom were voted out of committee unanimously with the support of some Republican senators.

The historically slow pace of confirmations has led to a vacancy crisis, with 99 out of 875 federal judgeships currently vacant, including 43 which are considered “judicial emergencies.”

“As a result, a growing number of Americans, from all walks of life and across all economic strata, are finding it increasingly more difficult to assert their legal rights and to have their fair day in court,” according to a letter sent to senators by a diverse group of 76 organizations.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has called for the Senate to return to “regular order” to ensure that qualified nominees receive a timely up-or-down vote on the Senate floor and vacancies are filled as quickly as possible.


STORY TAGS: Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News



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