Civil Rights Thru the Courts: Pushing a Boulder Up a Hill
NPR's News and Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya, held a roundtable interview on Fighting for Civil Rights in the Courts, with guests Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; University of Maryland law professor Sherrilyn Ifill; and Ted Shaw, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Listen to the discussion here.
Chideya opens the discussion with an audio clip from Thurgood Marshall and the question: Is today's legal system restricting ways of promoting racial equality?
Some notable quotables from the discussion:
*"The courts in the era of Thurgood Marshall and Brown v. Board of Education opened up a new paradigm, and there was this symbiotic relationship between activism and lawyering... [Brown] set up this paradigm for social change through the courts at the same time that activists were marhcing in the streets...Those two things worked hand in hand even if they were in tension at times." Ted Shaw
*"It had been a long road... for civil rights litigation. The lawyers didn't sit down then, they continued to litigate cases, some they won, some they lost, they were pushing a rock up a hill, until the conditions were right in which they could effect change. And I think that's the period we're in now." Sherrilyn Ifill
*"When you compare the courts of [the civil rights era] to the courts of today there's a signficant difference. When you look at the comparison... you see a real marked contrast between a president like Eisenhower who wanted to elevate the integrity of the courts and a President like George Bush who seeks to debase and manipulate the integrity of the courts by appointing people who he believes will move the court dramatically to the right." Wade Henderson