View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 5, 1999


Today the Senate defeated the nomination of Ronnie White for the federal district court in Missouri. This vote was a disgraceful act of partisan politics by the Republican majority, and creates real doubt on the ability of the Senate to fairly perform its constitutional duty to advise and consent. By voting down the first African American judge to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court, the Republicans have deprived both the judiciary and the people of Missouri of an excellent, fair, and impartial federal judge.

Judge White was a casualty of a judicial confirmation process that has lost any pretense of fairness. There was never any doubt about Judge White's ability to apply the law impartially. To defeat the candidacy of Judge White, the Republican majority maligned and distorted White's death penalty record, falsely creating a pretext for his defeat. While serving on the Missouri State Supreme Court, Judge White affirmed the imposition of the death penalty in almost 70 percent of the cases that came before him. Moreover, in ten of the eighteen reported instances in which Judge White voted to not impose the death penalty, he did so with a unanimous court.

The disappointing action of the Senate today provides strong evidence for those who believe that the Senate treats minority and women judicial nominees unequally. This is a sad day for the cause of equal justice.