People For the American Way

Black Communities Must Fight for the Supreme Court


This piece was originally published on Medium.

“History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.” –Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Just a few weeks into Trump’s presidency, we understand that this is a time of urgency, to borrow the words of Thurgood Marshall. Trump has already shown America his extreme agenda, and his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court further proves that this White House is not interested in protecting the constitutional rights and liberties of communities long marginalized by harmful policies. Rather, Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch serves as a reminder to our community that he supports a continued effort to push to the right a Court which has already gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the door for new laws that make it harder for Black communities to exercise their right to vote.

The voices of the Black community must sound out loud and clear in the fight for a fair and just Supreme Court! We must say no to those who want to turn back the clock, and we must fight for a Supreme Court that will protect the civil rights and liberties of our communities.

A huge part of our civic duty is the fight for a fair and just judiciary. We must advocate for a Supreme Court that will stand up for the people and, when necessary, protect us against any infringements on constitutional liberties carried out by other branches of our government. We cannot let extreme voices diminish this system of justice and destroy the rights and freedoms that belong to the people.

The Supreme Court plays an important role in our struggle for civil and human rights. With justices serving for life, the decisions handed down by the Court shape the very fabric of our communities for generations. Those decisions also dictate how we are treated under the law. Our justice system has been a powerful avenue for pursuing freedom and equality in America. It is built on a concept of equality under the law that so many Black people have fought and died for as we seek to make America the country it should be.

For example, when we compare the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the practice of legal segregation and the concept of “separate but equal” facilities, with the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which banned racial segregation in public schools, we can plainly see the impact the Supreme Court has on our freedom. Clearly, who sits on the Supreme Court matters!

We the People must stand up to make sure that those who serve at our will—senators who will decide whether Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed—do that job and protect our rights. We must demand that our senators oppose the confirmation of extreme judges like Judge Neil Gorsuch. Our community must fight for the nomination of fair-minded justices who will protect the civil and human rights of all people.

The Supreme Court is far too important to our lives, and the lives of future generations, for us to sit on the sidelines.


civil rights, Neil Gorsuch, Protecting the Supreme Court