Read a PDF of our statement here.

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., issued the following statement:

“Today at his confirmation hearing to serve as Deputy Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen refused to say that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided. This is an unprecedented and completely disqualifying action for anyone seeking to be confirmed to a leadership position in the U.S. Department of Justice. As Deputy Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen would oversee the Solicitor General’s Office and the Civil Rights Division, making his views on this seminal civil rights decision both relevant and critical.

“The drumbeat on this has been building since Trump judicial nominees took the extraordinary step of refusing to affirm the bedrock equality principles set forth in Brown v. Board of Education. Once these nominees suffered no consequences for their inexcusable refusal to affirm Brown, other candidates followed. The decision to decline to speak to cases that might come back before the Court was obviously not the reason for demurring from discussing Brown – a case no reasonable lawyer could expect to come back before the Court any more than Marbury v. Madison. Instead, it was a signal of a nominee’s ultra-conservative bona fides and willingness to break with the consensus that has been forged in our profession on the centrality of equality to our democratic identity.

“Now this has spread beyond judicial nominees and the person who would sit a heartbeat away from serving as the chief enforcement officer of the nation’s civil rights laws has joined this rebellion against the rule of law. Jeffrey Rosen should not be confirmed as Deputy Attorney General. His refusal to stand by Brown, the basis upon which our modern civil rights framework was built, is disqualifying. We call on every Senator to vote against this confirmation.”

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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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