We Need True Leadership
In September of 1953, Chief Justice of our Supreme Court, Fred Vinson died.
Shortly thereafter, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed the new Chief Justice: Earl Warren
Earl Warren was a natural-born leader. By the time he was appointed as our nation’s highest Judicial official, Warren had already served the people of California as District Attorney of Alameda County, California Attorney General, and Governor.
Very soon after Chief Justice Vinson’s death, Eisenhower wasted no time in nominating Earl as our new Chief Justice.
In like manner, Chief Justice Warren wasted no time in initiating the Court’s impending consideration of a case that he knew would be a landmark in the history of these here United States, Brown v. Board of Education.
On December 12, 1953, Earl Warren hit the bench running, with a bold intention to consider the case and decide it in such a way as to forge a new platform of legally recognized equality for black citizens in our Justice system.
Historian Bernard Schwartz, in his definitive book, History of the Supreme Court (Oxford University Press, 1953), reported that Chief Justice Warren’s words to his new brethren were quoted as follows:
“I can’t escape the feeling that, no matter how much the Court wants to avoid it, it (we) must now face the issue. The Court has finally arrived at a place where it must determine whether segregation is allowable in public schools.”
Warren’s preliminary remarks to his associates went on to assert, right off the bat, that the Brown case should be the instrument to overturn at last the old Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) unjust decision by which “separate but equal” laws and conditions allowed racial discrimination to persist in our nation, especially in the South.
The Southern boy who now writes this blog was two years old at that time, but that’s neither here nor there.
In concluding his introduction of the case to the other Justices, Earl confided:
“My instincts and feelings lead me to say that, in these cases we should abolish the practice of segration in public schools — but in a tolerant way.”
And that is exactly what they did. Warren’s initial five-Justice majority — including Alabama native Hugo Black, and Justices Douglas, Burton and Minton — was ultimately joined by the other four Justices, including two other Southerners, Reed and Clark.
In 1954, the Supreme Court of our United States rendered a unanimous decision, Brown v. Board of Education. In so doing, they changed the course of history, and they initiated a process for leveling, for the first time, the scales of Justice.
In his History opus, Bernard Schwartz states that Justice Stanley Reed acceded to the majority in that landmark decision because, as Schwartz reported it:
“He (Justice Reed) had . . . recognized that, in practice, Plessy (case 1896) had not produced anything like equal facilities for blacks . . .”
Looking back into history, we see that Earl Warren’s leadership was bold and effective from the start, and most effective at a juncture when a Court decision made a very big impact on our life in these here United States.
Thanks to Earl Warren’s savvy, black folks have had a better deal than they had before that 1954 wrinkle in time and jurisprudence.
Now . . . here in 2020, we have a candidate among us whose leadership experience echoes that of Californian Earl Warren:
Kamala Harris, formerly District Attorney of San Francisco, and Attorney General of California and now U.S. Senator.
Presently, she is running on the Biden ticket for Vice President of these here United States.
Now vice-presidents are not generally known for their extraordinary leadership. This is largely because their gifting is generally dimmed in the high profile of the president under whom they serve.
In our present situation, we have a very capable Vice President, Mike Pence. He is a seasoned political leader who was formerly Governor of Indiana.
God bless Vice President Mike Pence.
He is an upright man, an honorable man and an experienced leader. I voted for hm in 2016.
Unfortunately, the light of Mike’s gifting was tucked under a bushel when he agreed to serve under the self-obsessed twitterite who now occupies the white house.
Therefore, I will be voting for his opponent in a couple of weeks: Kamala Harris.
And here is why:
We are now positioned, historically, in a Brown v. Board of Education moment. But the issue on the hotplate this time is not so much . . . discrimination or double standards in education,etc.
Our present, high-profile injustice is police brutality, as is evidenced by the George Floyd incident, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray. . .et al
We still have now two different systems of law enforcement in these here United States of America. And that is not true Justice.
We need to reconstruct the whole arrangement of law enforcement in our big cities. This is what the “defund Police” blahblah is all about. It’s not about some pie-in-the-sky idea of doing away with police. It’s about updating our notions about their real function in our neighborhoods and why we need them.
Inappropriate, knee-jerk Police brutality against black citizens has got to go.
Just like segregation had to go in 1954.
And I perceive that Kamala Harris, soon to be Vice President of these here United States and thereby President of the Senate . . . is the bold leader whose savvy can make a real difference, somewhat like Earl Warren’s seasoned leadership did back in ’54.
We’ll see what happens after Nov. 3, if donald doesn’t throw a big monkey wrench to wreck our electoral system.