The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, unanimously endorsed Elena Kagan, President Barak Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, today at their quarterly board meeting.
“After a careful and thorough review of Elena Kagan’s record, we have unanimously voted to endorse her nomination,” stated president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Elena Kagan has demonstrated a commitment to civil rights and equal justice under the law throughout her career. Kagan drew her inspiration from NAACP former counsel and Supreme court Justice Thurgood Marshall who she considers a hero and mentor. During her tenure at the White House, Kagan worked on issues such as strengthening hate crimes legislation and civil rights enforcement. As a law school Dean, she worked to ensure a diverse student body and faculty. And as Solicitor General, Kagan has vigorously defended the nation’s equal opportunity and civil rights laws. We look forward to actively supporting her nomination,” Jealous said.
“Elena Kagan has a track record of bringing people together. She is skilled at forging legal consensus on contentious issues,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock. “Civil rights is a bipartisan issue. It is central to the core of our American values. We believe Elena Kagan has the ability to use her fine legal mind, her commitment to diversity and her ability to build bridges to effectively advocate in the Court for the civil rights and democracy enshrined in our constitution.”
The organization reviewed Kagan’s available record on civil rights including her recent authorization for the Department of Justice and the Department of Civil Rights to file an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the University of Texas’ affirmative action program in Fisher v. University of Texas and her brief in support of African American firefighters who challenged a hiring test used by the City of Chicago under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Lewis v. City of Chicago).
“Kagan has a keen understanding of the importance of diversity to the strength and advancement of our nation,” added NAACP President and CEO Jealous. “It is no accident that during her tenure as dean of the Harvard Law School, the percentage of African American students rose from 9.3 percent to 11.6 percent. The percentage of Hispanics in the entering class was 6.4 percent, while it had been 4.6 percent prior to her becoming dean. The number of African American students admitted, particularly Black men –given the national decline in African American males in colleges and universities– is impressive Her record demonstrates a legal scholar who clearly values the precept of equal opportunity as a right that is protected by our constitution.” Jealous said.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its more than half million members and supporters, throughout the United States and the world, are the premier advocates for civil and human rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and advocating for equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.