AL: Black Lawyers Frustrated by Resistance to Obama Appointments

According to the Birmingham Times, opposition to President Obama’s plans to fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat and other federal openings has caused frustration among a number of black legal organizations.

The political circus in Washington following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia comes after more turmoil in Alabama surrounding resistance to the nomination of Judge Abdul Kallon for Alabama’s 11th Circuit. The seat, which has been vacant for almost three years, has yet to be filled and Kallon would make history by becoming the first African American from the state to serve on the appellate court.

“This is so political,” said Alabama Democratic congresswoman Terri Sewell, who was the keynote speaker at a recent symposium in Birmingham on Judicial Diversity. “The selection of federal judges should not be a partisan issue. We all benefit when diverse candidates are considered based on their qualifications, ability and character, not political ideology,” she added.

Benjamin Crump, President of the National Bar Association, said it’s not only Kallon’s nomination that’s being held up. Speaking to the newspaper, Crump named a number of prominent jurists, “all of them black, most are Ivy League educated with exceptional credentials, and yet they can’t even get a hearing.”