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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Vote on Ronnie White Judicial Nomination

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
July 16, 2014

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement as the Senate votes on the nomination of Ronnie L. White, former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The vote comes fifteen years after Mr. White was wrongfully denied confirmation to the federal bench as a Clinton nominee due to a smear campaign orchestrated by then-Senator John Ashcroft:

“This is a redemptive vote for a unanimously qualified judge whose past nomination was derailed by a baseless and dirty smear campaign. 

Ronnie L. White, a former public defender and state supreme court justice with an extensive legal resume and bipartisan support, is a model nominee to the federal bench. His confirmation is long overdue and we applaud today’s vote.

The smear campaign orchestrated to derail Mr. White’s previous nomination was one of the most unscrupulous I’ve seen in my entire career. Then-Senator John Ashcroft used false data and misleading interpretations to baselessly assert that Mr. White was ‘soft on crime’ even though he had the support of Missouri’s leading law enforcement organizations. Ashcroft’s aggressive campaign to derail this nomination was nothing more than a campaign stunt intended to bolster his own re-election chances.

Given this history, and with the recent memory of the unwarranted campaign against Debo Adegbile’s confirmation to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division still fresh in our minds, we hope that today’s vote is a sign that our Senate can learn from the mistakes of its past and confirm well-qualified nominees like Ronnie L. White.”

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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