The following consists of excerpts from my remarks made at the Judicial Nomination Process Press Conference held in the Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 13, 2003. My remarks dealt with the Senate Democrats obstructing and stalling a straight up or down vote on conservative Judicial Nominees. I share them now to remind everyone of the truth of “fairness.” Especially the silver-tongued potentate in the White House who uses the word “fair” as cover for depriving us of our rights and to foment class warfare. My remarks are as relevant today as they were at the time they were delivered nearly nine years ago.
A REMINDER WHAT FAIRNESS REALLY IS:
Piggy-backing that which my colleagues have just articulated – I would address the voice of fairness …
Fairness is marked by impartiality and honesty; it is free from self-interest, prejudice or favoritism; it conforms to the established rules … Fairness is not hateful, opprobrious partisanship.
It was out of a sense of fairness that America had not only the courage, but the good sense and decency to abolish slavery …
Further, it was the realization that opportunity – that great equalizer that has been the cornerstone of our American heritage – was being denied to an entire populace of people based solely upon the color of their skin, thus unfairly denying these same people equal participation under the law.
It is important to note, also, that there was an embarrassing period in American history, during which men of perceived gentry were condescending and antagonistic toward women – treating them as inferior and not worthy or equal to participate in the boundless opportunities this great country holds in its stores for all humankind.
Once again, principled men of conscience understood that this, too, was unfair. And just as Everett Dirksen answered the call for fairness by a president from across the aisle, so too these men took it upon themselves to address a paralyzing unfairness.
And so, it is that America – with the grace and dignity befitting so great a land – acknowledged her past blemishes ensuring that the fairness of opportunity would be available to all, regardless of their race or gender.
Nowhere today have we better examples of this than Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice; we see women today as the owners of world championship athletic franchises; today, women are the CEOs of the most powerful companies listed in the Fortune 500 …
This weekend, I observed two of the most successful world champions in all of motor sports were women.
And let me not omit Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – who rose from the humblest of beginnings to ascend to one of the highest positions in America, indeed in the world.
Principled men of America understood then, and understand now, that “All men [and women] are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – to which I add it is implicitly implied in the aforementioned the right to be treated fairly. Thanks to principled leaders of faith – fairness having been extended not only paid dividends, but it allowed for little girls today, from Stone Mountain, Ga., to California to dream with a “fair” hope of achieving their dream.
I stand in this chamber this morning fully cognizant that, not many years past, my father could have hoped only to clean the floors here. But today, because honorable and principled men reached across the aisle, refusing to engage in yellow visceral partisanism, and helped a president embarrassed by his own party, I stand here addressing the nation, aware that my son can one day stand here to address the world.
Yet, embarrassingly, today there are those who would return us to that shameful period of Jim Crow and that period when women were good enough to bear children, clean or act on ceremony, but could not hold positions of power for which they were (and are) eminently qualified …
Today, the message that goes forth from these chambers – to black boys and black girls, and to white girls and white boys, to boys and girls of Hispanic origin – is that they can only dream of fairness. For if they dare to venture off the ideological plantations, or if they dare to venture out of the ideological kitchens or if they dare to venture out of the ideological fields of sugar cane, they will be viciously set upon – often by those of their own ethnicity, who are encouraged to do so by those embodied with the spirits of those who shackled, maimed and controlled with rigid inflexibility. Old Tom Lynch would be proud of his modern-day descendants …
My friends across America – we stand assembled here this morning, to say that there are those ideologically committed to barring doors and setting the ideological dogs upon those who believe in the doctrine of fairness – there are those who would tell us that women only have the right to fairness if they are ideologically committed to obstruction and subversion.
But that is not America. Contrary to the lies and betrayals by some of these sworn to uphold the Constitution, in America the people are owed the principle of fairness.
Fairness is not a dirty word – it is a word that at once commands respect and acknowledgement.
That is what we are asking for here today. We are asking for an end to the ideological unprincipled and unfair behavior by those who would claim to love America and claim to serve her people.
We are here to ask for a straight up or down vote with a simple majority of 51 as our founding fathers – those who have been bastardized as old white men who owned slaves – intended.
Do I ask for too much? I say, I ask for no less then men of principle asked for in the past.
Rather than return ideologically to the days of lynchings and burnings and abuse of women – I challenge men with a sense of fairness to step forward. We know there exists – within some of the elected – malevolent spirits of America’s dark past. But we also know there exists in many within these halls today the principled spirit of fairness of the Everett Dirksens. May they be honorable and bold enough to step forward. Thank you.