Black History Month Thoughts on Thurgood Marshall


This one is a short one, but a quick reflection on Black History month and a historic Black American Lawyer.

When I was younger I came across a biography of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black or African American Justice on the Supreme Court.

I was so greatly impressed by his arguments before the Supreme Court and then eventual appointment to the Supreme Court, that my love of the process, no matter how flawed it is, still tends to give me hope for a better country and I owe him that.

If it wasn't for his accomplishments I think I would be completely consumed with jadedness and cynicism about our government.

His arguments as the head NAACP legal team against Segregation, were so strong and just that it made the Supreme Court overturn several prior cases that had allowed various forms of Segregation in schools and other State controlled or contracted services. The overturning of prior cases is something which they very rarely and with great reluctancy do.

I hate that it takes a long time to correct things in our society when they make a bad decision. I really hate how that can negatively affect some people's entire lives and rob them of their liberty.

I do however see the fact that we can always change and correct the future as he was able to do with his arguments.

There's a trade-off.

Maybe it is more stable if we live under bad law for a long time and we tolerate it until we can change it, versus having the ability to change it whenever it becomes uncomfortable, but with that stability comes the lives and liberty of whoever is oppressed during the time the bad law is in effect.

Anyway, though I never got to speak with Justice Marshall directly, I did get to spend a few hours working with a man who was one of his clerks that helped write his decisions when he served on the Court.

All I can say is that if Thurgood Marshall's choice of clerk was representative of his wisdom and character, then he was a great man that lives up to the history and praise. His clerk so impressed me with the logic of the arguments we discussed, that I felt like a child talking to Socrates.

If anyone gets a chance to read about Marshall on Wikipedia or pick up a Biography of him you really should.

He was one of the Great Men of this country.

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