An attorney nominated by President Donald Trump for a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship refuses to say whether she’s opposed to segregation in public schools.
Wendy Vitter, general counsel to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans (and wife of former Louisiana senator David Vitter) is currently being considered for the position of U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.
In the process, Vitter was pitched a very softball-like question by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) during her confirmation hearings on Wednesday afternoon.
Blumenthal asked, “Do you believe that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided?” To which Vitter replied:
Senator, I don’t mean to be coy, but I think I get into a difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions, which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with. Again, my personal, political or religious views I would set aside. That is Supreme Court precedent. It is binding. If I were honored to be confirmed, I would be bound by it and of course I would uphold it.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka is a landmark Supreme Court case in which a unanimous court found that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Gone was de jure racial segregation in public schools–at least on paper.
While the Brown decision nowhere spelled out the precise legal formula required for desegregating America’s educational commitment to white supremacy, the case is a basic tenet of established law in the United States vis-à-vis race, federal power over education and Civil Rights.
So, basically, Blumenthal likely wasn’t prepared for his question to be interpreted as difficult.
The Constitution State’s senior senator pressed on. Appearing slightly shocked, Blumenthal repeated his question, “Do you believe it was correctly decided?” Vitter didn’t quite understand she was being given a life-line here and therefore didn’t diverge from the prior track she set out for herself. Stonewalling again, Vitter said:
Again, I would respectfully not comment on what could be my boss’ ruling. The Supreme Court. I would be bound by it. And if I start commenting on “I agree with this case,” or “I don’t agree with this case,” I think we get into a slippery slope.
Slippery is probably an apposite word here. Just probably not for the reasons Mrs. Vitter thinks.
Law&Crime reached out to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans for comment, but no response was forthcoming at the time of publication.
[image via screengrab]