The Corner

The one and only.

Bush and King


President Bush’s attendance at Coretta Scott King’s funeral today has prompted both DeWayne Wickham and Jesse Jackson to write “yes, but” columns: Yes, it’s nice that Bush is going, but too bad he’s been so opposed in the past to King’s ideals. Both repeat the oft-cited factoid that Bush announced he was filing a brief opposing racial preferences in university admissions on Martin Luther King’s birthday (predictably, though, Jesse gets the year wrong); I say “factoid” since the timing was simply a result of a Supreme Court filing deadline and, for that matter, what better day to announce that content of character should trump color of skin? And both complain that a year later, Bush recess-appointed Charles Pickering to the court of appeals, and Pickering, Jesse tells us, was “a right-wing judge opposed to equal protection.” Nonsense. To quote just one item in a bill of contrary particulars collected by Nat Hentoff:

“In 1966, after civil-rights leader Vernon Dahmer was killed by a firebomb, Ku Klux Klan commander Sam Bowers was charged with the murder. As a county prosecutor, Judge Pickering, at considerable peril to his life, testified that Bowers had a history of violence. When Judge Pickering was subsequently defeated in a re-election bid for the state legislature, the Klan bragged it had caused his defeat.”


Sign up for free NR e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review