On this, the day after the most important election of our generation, Americans everywhere are beaming with pride at what they’ve accomplished. One hundred years after the formation of the NAACP, more than fifty years after the landmark decision in Brown v. the Board of Education and forty years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the United States has elected its first African American president.
But on this auspicious and historic day, we must continue to focus on the work that lies ahead, especially with regard to federal court appointments. Our courts still teem with ultra-conservative Bush appointees. We anticipate that there will be 15 vacancies on the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and 36 district court vacancies as of Inauguration Day. We also expect at least one Supreme Court vacancy before President-Elect Obama completes his first term. As the new administration selects the men and women who will fill these slots on the federal bench, we must work to ensure that his nominees will keep faith with our nation's core constitutional values of liberty, equality, and justice for all.
Today as AFJ President Nan Aron looked to the future, she observed, “As the hard work of the transition begins and the short lists are compiled, the Obama administration should look to nominate individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and different experiences -- such as governors, attorneys general and state legislators. But most importantly, President-Elect Obama should nominate people with an expansive vision of constitutional freedoms and equality.”