People For the American Way today released a new radio ad calling out Sen. Charles Grassley for his criticism of civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall during Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's recent confirmation hearings. The ad will air in Iowa starting tomorrow.
In an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Julian Bond, a People For board member and former chairman of the NAACP, criticized Grassley and his fellow Republicans for their comments on Marshall. "These attacks didn't surprise me," Bond wrote, "because they're completely consistent with a party locked in the past, echoing the anti-civil rights message of those who opposed Justice Marshall's own confirmation in 1967."
"The GOP's attacks on Thurgood Marshall were stunning display of tone-deaf revisionism" said Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, "Iowa voters deserve to know who Sen. Grassley is fighting for, and who he is turning his back on. His comments on Justice Marshall made that abundantly clear.
"In her confirmation hearings, Justice Kagan defended Justice Marshall's legacy, saying his ‘whole life was about seeing the courts take seriously claims that were not taken seriously anyplace else.' That principle that will serve Kagan well on the Supreme Court. It's a shame that Sen. Grassley and many of his Republican colleagues disagree."
The audio of the ad can be heard here.
The text of the ad is below:
"Thurgood Marshall is one of America's greatest heroes. As a lawyer at the NAACP, he led the fight against segregation by winning the landmark Brown v.Board of Education. And he was the first African American Justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
"Unfortunately, Senator Grassley does not share a common admiration or respect for Thurgood Marshall. When our new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan testified before the Senate, Senator Grassley criticized Marshall and his legacy as a Supreme Court Justice. I guess Thurgood Marshall's accomplishments of being a civil rights leader and being the first African American justice on the Supreme Court are not to be admired. Senator Grassley chose to play politics over showing respect for Thurgood Marshall's contribution to society. Since he decided to choose disrespect, I think Iowa should decide to choose another Senator. Paid for by People For the American Way."