By Derrick Johnson, President and CEO NAACP

The NAACP is extremely grateful to Justice Breyer for his 28 years of service on the Supreme Court. Justice Breyer’s tenure on the Court was marked by a dedication to equal justice and respect for the rule of law. His record includes support for voting rights, fair housing, equal educational opportunity, and fairness in the criminal justice system.

Justice Breyer is known for his passionate dissent in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, in which the Court struck down a voluntary school desegregation plan in Louisville, Kentucky.

Importantly, Justice Breyer has noted that one of his most important decisions was his vote in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld race-conscious action in admissions at the University of Michigan. He also authored the unanimous opinion in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad Co. v. White, protecting employees who suffered retaliatory discrimination. Justice Breyer has repeatedly called for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the death penalty, writing that “the death penalty, as currently administered, suffers from unconscionably long delays, arbitrary application, and serious unreliability.”

Our Supreme Court desperately requires balance. The Court was already predisposed against civil rights. Then Donald Trump, aided by the Senate which broke all traditions and customs, installed three justices who have taken the Court in an extreme direction that threatens our civil rights for a lifetime. It is time to restore the integrity and legitimacy of the Court and its role as protector of civil rights. Too much lies in the balance on voting rights, equal educational opportunity, and reproductive choice.

In his first year, President Biden has appointed judges whose backgrounds are extremely underrepresented on federal courts around this country. He should do the same for the highest court in the land.

This vacancy provides President Biden with the historic opportunity to appoint someone with a strong record on civil and human rights.

In Power,

Derrick Johnson
President and CEO

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