Saturday, June 23, 2007

Driving While Black...

Two judges from a three judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrongly ruled that driving while black was probable cause for police to stop a vehicle.

The Washington Post has the maddening story:
One March night in 2004, D.C. police stopped Melvin Goddard and three friends outside a Columbia Heights gas station while hunting for a fleeing car thief. All four fit the police's vague description of the suspect: a casually dressed black man.
Yep, that's all it took -- nothing more.

In the 2-1 decision, the majority (all whites) held that precedent required they rule in favor of the D.C. cop that made the initial stop.

Well, never mind, decried Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a black conservative appointed to the Court by President George Bush and filibustered by Dems until a Senate "deal" avoided the constitutional meltdown.
What we are now tempted to enforce is . . . the rule that in a high-crime neighborhood, being young, male and black creates reasonable, articulable suspicion," wrote Rogers Brown. "For as we all know, courts would not approve the search of four men in business attire, conversing peaceably in front of a Starbucks, if the only basis for the search was a 'lookout' broadcast specifying a white man, medium height and build, wearing a business suit."
Right on, Sister Janice.

It looks like Sen. Majority Harry Reid might have been a tad bit hasty when he said that Brown was sure to roll back the civil rights of minorities. Unlike Uncle Clarence on the U.S. Supreme Court, her opinion gives Howling Latina a great deal of hope for the future; and confirms to her why it is SO IMPORTANT that minorities be appointed to the high courts.

The two judges for the majority were Chief Justice Douglas H. Ginsburg and Judge David S. Tatel.

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