Appointments must be balancedPublished 4:58pm Friday, July 22, 2011
Dear Governor Bentley,
I do not proclaim to have influence politically or otherwise. I am merely a citizen of this great state having been born, raised and educated in the state of Alabama. I am an African American, who can recall the days of “Jim Crow,” I probably would have been an athlete worthy of a basketball scholarship to the University of Alabama had it not been for Governor Wallace’s infamous stand in the school house door.
This was only a few years before my graduation from high school. To the best of my knowledge, there were no African Americans attending the University of Alabama or Auburn on athletic scholarship during those tumultuous years. The late Vivian Malone had just been accepted as a student and escorted in by federalized troops a few years before. My family could not have financially afforded to send me even to Alabama State University, except for the scholarship offered to me by that fine university.
I say all of this, because I have grave concerns having lived through some of the lowest points in Alabama history. There was the beating on the bridge in Selma for African Americans attempting to get rights to vote. Then there were murders, water hoses, and dogs in Birmingham and other atrocities reaped unjustly upon African Americans all across the South. I only mention these things to emphasize how far we have come in the past 40 years. Though there still remains much work yet to be done in the area of civil rights, we have made great strides in our race relations, and improving the plight of all people and especially, those citizens considered to be the “least of these” in terms of financial standing. I am thoroughly convinced that the Advancement of Colored People would not have been possible without the help of some fair-minded whites in positions of influence with the integrity and courage to do what was right.
Now, I will admit that I am a Democrat and have voted as a Democrat all of my life. This is because I have truly felt the Democratic Party favored the best interest of all the people. But, to date, I have carefully watched and been impressed with your performance as a Republican governor. I believe that you have shown to this point, that you plan to be a governor for all the people. Hence, it would seem to be most fitting that our Supreme Court not be comprised of all Republicans. I once heard a judge say, when hearing the testimony of a witness in court, “That doesn’t sound right.” That phrase has stayed with me, and when I hear that we may have an all white, nine member Supreme Court, that phrase again comes to mind.
To me, and I think many others, the highest court of Alabama has to not only be fair, and I dare not question the integrity of these fine gentlemen, but it also must manifest the perception and give the appearance of being fundamentally fair to all citizens. As a minority, I do not think this is possible with an all Republican court when taking into consideration our state’s long history of segregation, degradation and denial of justice to people of color.
It is for all these reasons, that I ask you to do what other greats in history have done; to go against what appears to be politically correct such as the likes of Big Jim Folsom, and Judge Frank Johnson in their own particular way, and appoint a Democrat, preferably a minority to the Alabama Supreme Court. Albeit, this may not be the most popular thing to do, it would be favorable to me and other like-minded citizens who would like the courts and administration of justice to be color blind. I thank you for your time, I appreciate and applaud your efforts, and I wish you the best regardless of your final decision.
Danny W. Crenshaw Esq.