Read a PDF of our statement here.

This week, the Senate is poised to honor the 54th anniversary of Bloody Sunday by confirming two anti-voting rights judicial nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Today, Chad Readler was confirmed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, despite not receiving a blue slip from Senator Sherrod Brown. And later in the week, the Senate appears set to confirm Eric Murphy to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, despite also not receiving a blue slip from Senator Brown. Todd A. Cox, Policy Director at LDF, issued the following statement:

“Last weekend, I was in Selma, Alabama honoring the boundless courage of those whose peaceful march for voting rights was met with tear gas and nightsticks just 54 years ago. Their moral leadership hastened the passage of the Voting Rights Act and helped shine a light on the concerted efforts to deny Black Americans access to the ballot box. It appears the Senate, on the other hand, is commemorating the humbling sacrifice of Bloody Sunday marchers by elevating two enemies of voting rights to lifetime seats on the federal bench. Until recently, Readler led the Justice Department’s defense of the Trump Administration’s most reprehensible policies, including shameless efforts to suppress minority votes by, among other things, supporting Ohio’s efforts to unfairly restrict the right to vote. Similarly, Murphy argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that the state of Ohio should be able to purge infrequent voters from its election rolls, which is likely to harm people of color, veterans, and citizens with disabilities most.

“Confirming Readler, and soon Murphy, is an affront to the legacy of marchers like Amelia Boynton Robinson, and to the cause of equal justice generally. Senate Republicans must stop silencing the dissenting voices of their colleagues and experts decrying the impact unqualified nominees will have on civil rights and our federal courts. We call on Senators to learn from, rather than undermine, the moral leadership of those on the Edmund Pettus Bridge mere decades ago, and to stop destroying the progress they fought so hard to achieve.”

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

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