In our judicial system, lower-court judges take instruction from the Supreme Court, not the other way around. In the case of U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, that’s too bad. Walton, appointed to the local court in the District of Columbia by Ronald Reagan and to the federal bench by George W. Bush, has a message for the justices that is appropriate, respectful — and devastating.
Messages, actually, delivered in a speech Thursday about the importance of affirmative action, which the high court, as Walton predicted, is about to dismantle; and about the scourge of gun violence, which, as Walton outlined, has been made all the more intractable by the court’s wrongheaded Second Amendment rulings.
If only the justices had been present to hear it. If only they were open-minded enough to take it in.
The power of Walton’s speech, part of an annual lecture series in honor of the late Judge Thomas A. Flannery, derived from the personal nature of his appeal. As he told the audience of lawyers and judges gathered at the federal courthouse in Washington, Walton’s is an American success story — far from inevitable, made possible by the existence of affirmative action. [Continue reading…]