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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Friday, February 3, 2017
STATE Lawmaker Proposes RACE-BASED JUDICIAL Selections
If judge now is 'person of color,' replacement must be
'Person of Color'
A bill submitted to the Rhode Island legislature by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams, a Democrat, would impose a race qualification on future judicial nominations in the state.
It’s already drawing reaction from experts who believe it won’t be allowed.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh quoted from Williams’ plan.
Williams proposes that whenever a trial judge “who is a person of color leaves the bench, for whatever reason, their replacement must be a person of color, so as not to diminish the number of judges of color in that court.”
Volokh said that such a “rigid racial allotment would be a pretty clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause, I think, even given the narrow forms of race-based preferences that the Supreme Court has allowed; and I think it would violate the even more explicit provision in the Rhode Island Constitution.”
The state’s constitution, after all, states, “No otherwise qualified person shall, solely by reason of race, gender or handicap be subject to discrimination by the state, its agents or any person or entity doing business with the state.”
The first would require the state’s judicial selection commission to “actively and aggressively solicit members of color to apply for judicial appointments.”
The second provides that any trial court seat filled by a “person of color” must continue to be held by a “person of color.”
The third would require that there be at least three “persons of color” on the Judicial Nominating Commission.
The plan is upfront with its racial demands.
In Section 1, it states, “Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter to the contrary, whenever a judge from the superior court, family court, district court, traffic tribunal, workers’ compensation court or municipal court who is a person of color leaves the bench, for whatever reason, their replacement must be a person of color, so as not to diminish the number of judges of color in that court.”
Section 2 simply states the act would take effect immediately upon its adoption.