Saturday, May 18, 2019


Today marks the 65-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v Board of Ed, which ruled that segregated schooling is unconstitutional in the United States and transformed the U.S. legal system in the process. 

But those accomplishments seem to mean little to members of the Trump administration, who are attempting to push through nearly 30 judicial nominees who refuse to affirm that the case was correctly decided. 

Jeffrey Rosen, President Trump’s new deputy attorney general also refused to affirm the ruling in the case. Rosen said in response to a question about it that he couldn’t be expected to give him opinion on “thousands of Supreme Court opinions.” 

The slew of new judges who refuse to affirm the case come as the Supreme Court signals that it is willing to overturn decades of precedent. 

On Monday, the court made a surprising decision in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, where the court reversed a ruling from 1979 that said that states do not hold sovereign immunity from courts in other states. The vote fell along party lines, with more conservative judges voting to overturn the rule. 

In his descent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that “today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” While Breyer was referring specifically to cases surrounding the constitutional right to abortion, there could be more coming. 

“The refusal by some nominees to say that [Brown v Board of Ed] was correctly decided sends a dangerous signal to all Americans–especially African Americans–that Brown could someday be overturned and that our nation could return to the disgraceful days of racial segregation,” wrote Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference in a letter to Senate. 

“Affirming Brown is an essential principle of racial equality that must be endorsed by all who seek a lifetime appointment on our federal courts. Regrettably, it is not, and that should be disqualifying.” 

These are the pending Trump judicial nominees who have declined to affirm the ruling in Brown v. Board of Ed:
  1. Miller Baker (U.S. Court of International Trade)
  2. Thomas Barber (Middle District of Florida)
  3. Wendy Berger (Middle District of Florida)
  4. Ada Brown (Northern District of Texas)
  5. Jeffrey Brown (Southern District of Texas)
  6. Brian Buescher (District of Nebraska)
  7. James Cain (Western District of Louisiana)
  8. Daniel Collins (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
  9. Clifton Corker (Eastern District of Tennessee)
  10. Steven Grimberg (Northern District of Georgia)
  11. Greg Guidry (Eastern District of Louisiana)
  12. James Hendrix (Northern District of Texas)
  13. Richard Hertling (U.S. Court of Federal Claims)
  14. Karin Immergut (District of Oregon)
  15. Sean Jordan (Eastern District of Texas)
  16. Damon Leichty (Northern District of Indiana)
  17. Michael Liburdi (District of Arizona)
  18. David Novak (Eastern District of Virginia)
  19. Mark Pittman (Northern District of Texas)
  20. Nicholas Ranjan (Western District of Pennsylvania)
  21. Timothy Reif (U.S. Court of International Trade)
  22. Matthew Solomson (U.S. Court of Federal Claims)
  23. Brantley Starr (Northern District of Texas)
  24. Peter Welte (District of North Dakota)
Several judges who refused to affirm the case, including Wendy Vitter (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana), Michael Park (2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), Michael Truncale, (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas) and Kenneth (9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), have already been confirmed by Senate. 

Nicole Goodkind is a political reporter at Newsweek. You can reach her on Twitter @NicoleGoodkind or by email,

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