NAACP to Black Civil Rights Attorney: Shut Up

On July 30, under the headline “Me White, Me Dumb,” I differed with a Fox News Channel guest who opined that whites can’t teach black history because white people aren’t capable of understanding what it is like to be black and to be stopped by a policeman. I thought then, and I still do, that this thesis is nonsense.

I didn’t identify the guest, but he was trial lawyer Leo Terrell. Today, Mr. Terrell is in the Wall Street Journal for another reason: he’s resigned from the NAACP because, he says, the NAACP told him not to publicly share his true opinions about Carolyn Kuhl. Kuhl is a Bush appointee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and is one of the many Bush judicial appointees who have not been confirmed by the Senate despite impressive resumes and much praise from those who know them.

Senate Democrats are using the modern-day version of the filibuster — a “silent filibuster” that creates the procedural fiction that a Senator is speaking longer than is biologically possible, thus forcing Senators to garner 60 votes to halt the filibuster before voting on whatever is in question — to prevent votes on Bush nominees. The NAACP is supporting this obstructionist tactic. Thus, it is inconvenient that Mr. Terrell, an outspoken black attorney, has been publicly supportive of Judge Kuhl’s nomination.

The Wall Street journal editorial today writes:

Mr. Terrell is a California attorney who has donated many hours of work to the NAACP, representing litigants and participating in seminars on discrimination. Mr. Terrell, who is black, has been outspoken in his support of Judge Kuhl, who sits on the California Superior Court in Los Angeles and before whom he appeared in 1999. “I found that Judge Kuhl was fair, impartial, competent and at all times extremely professional,” he wrote in a May 23, 2001, letter to fellow Californian and fellow Democrat, Senator Barbara Boxer. Mr. Terrell repeated those points to us yesterday, adding that the NAACP is buying in to “phony allegations that she is hostile to civil rights.” We’d add that the once great civil-rights group is also playing political enforcer for a hyper-partisan Senate minority.

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