The senate rejects Judge G. Harold Carswell’s nomination to the Supreme Court, partly in response to the Black community’s concerns about his racial views.
1970 (Jan 27)
In the first day of confirmation hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge G. Harold Carswell of Florida told the U.S. senate's judiciary committee: "I am not a racist. I have no notions, secretive or otherwise, of racial superiority." Carswell was responding to senators' questions about a white supremacy speech he made during a political campaign in Georgia in 1948. Carswell said that "the force of twenty-two years of history" had changed him as well as the South. On January 21, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had urged the senate to reject Carswell because of his pro-segregation record. NAACP board chairman Bishop Stephen G. Spottswood noted that the NAACP and 124 other organizations had opposed Carswell's appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the fifth circuit in May of 1969. Two days later, Southern christian leadership conference president Ralph David Abernathy announced that he had sent a telegram to senate leaders opposing Carswell. Abernathy said the rejection of Carswell "would provide some reassurances to the Black community that there is still some understanding and support among government officials for our needs." The senate later rejected the Carswell nomination.