Institutions News Politics

Black clergy demand Senate consider Obama Supreme Court nominee

The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, leads a “pray-in” on April 15, 2015 of women urging the Senate to confirm U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general. The Rev. Leah Daughtry, immediately to the right of Williams-Skinner, offered one of the prayers. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

 

The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, leads a “pray-in” on April 15, 2015 of women urging the Senate to confirm U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general. The Rev. Leah Daughtry, immediately to the right of Williams-Skinner, offered one of the prayers. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, leads a “pray-in” on April 15, 2015 of women urging the Senate to confirm U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general. The Rev. Leah Daughtry, immediately to the right of Williams-Skinner, offered one of the prayers. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Black clergy from across the country are expressing outrage about the Republican-led Senate’s vow to block any nominee President Obama picks to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, saying it reflects racism and disrespect.

The Rev. Freddy Haynes of Dallas said on Friday (March 4) that Senate Republicans have condemned statements about racism by the leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump but he said they need to act on those words.

“I’m saying to the Senate: before you denounce the splinter of racism blatantly espoused by a certain candidate, I need you to check the log of obstruction and racism that is in your eye,” the megachurch pastor said. “We declare the president’s right and responsibility, constitutionally, to appoint a Supreme Court nominee that goes through a just and fair practice.”

The National African American Clergy Network held the Friday conference call to express its outrage about the nomination process. On Feb. 22, coalition members issued a letter and video urging the GOP-controlled Senate to consider Obama’s nominee. They said they received no response.


RELATED STORY: Loretta Lynch supporters hold ‘pray-in’ on Capitol Hill to urge a vote on her confirmation


The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, the network’s co-chair, said the group is asking the Senate “to do nothing special for President Obama. Just do your job. Just do what the Constitution says and that is to hear the nominee and to vote on the nominee.”

Obama is reportedly considering a number of potential candidates for the vacancy and says he plans to name one of them despite Republican demands that he wait until a new president is in office after the November election.

The clergy leaders hope African-American voters will contact their senators and consider their treatment of the nomination process when they vote in upcoming primaries and the general election.

“We must educate our communities regarding those who are leading this obstruction and those who are supporting this obstruction and those who are silent in the face of this obstruction,” said the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., another co-chair of the network. “We must do it now. We must remember in November.”

On Super Tuesday (March 1), Baltimore megachurch pastor Jamal-Harrison Bryant and several hundred black clergy gathered for a “Praying for Supreme Justice Rally” at the high court to protest the Senate’s plans to halt Obama’s justice nomination.

(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS) 

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

13 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Color/race/ethnicity has zero do to do with the qualifications or disqualifications someone to the Supreme Court. How they will interpret the Constitution and his/her experience is all that matters. I for one grow weary of all the assumed racism and race bating that occurs with everything these days.

    Color of skin does not have a direct causal impact on human behavior. If it has impact, it is because individuals are racist in assigning meaning to the color of skin (whether pro or con). Racism is racism.

    Skin color is irrelevant.

  • Maybe you should have read the article before commenting. The article was about black clergy calling the GOP racist for their intent to block any Supreme Court nominee by Obama. Which is probably an exaggeration but not a big one. Republicans have been making racist appeals since 2008 and pretending it is simply “political dissent”.

    Qualifications have zero to do with the plan by Senate Republicans to block an Obama nominee to SCOTUS. This is simply a matter of pure partisanship. Of course the real boneheaded part of their scheme is that I doubt any of them really want a SCOTUS nominee under President Trump.

  • Black, brown, yellow and white are all children of God – privileged to be walking on God’s holy ground and living in God’s time.

  • If oboma picks another judge , it will work against Christian s , so why would you want that ,, these so called black clergy have forgotten there place in Gods kingdom, 1rst you are christian, and then your clergy, and then your black, , as long as you put your color, first your out of order witn a God of order,

  • How can it be racism when we don’t know yet who Obama’s nominee will be? Maybe he will nominate someone white or Oriental
    .

  • Only those Christians who have no regard for rule of law, civil liberties and religious freedom. The kind who forget their faith does not entitle them to political power, nor do our laws ever need to conform to sectarian beliefs.

  • Opposing policies favored by most African Americans is not necessarily racism. There are legitimate principled and responsible reasons for opposing a great deal of them. Energies would be better spent trying to get the apathetic Democratic voters out to the polls, with candidates that people could trust not to squander the nation’s resources.

ADVERTISEMENTs