Immediate Past Chair Holland’s Update on Second Meeting with the President
On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, Judge Marcella Holland, Past Chair of the NBA Judicial Council, met with other members of the National Policy Alliance and traveled to the White House to meet with various cabinet members and President Obama. Judge Holland shares her experience and opportunity to advocate for the appointment of more African-American judges.
The meeting was planned by White House staff and included a tour of the White House and a meeting with various cabinet members from agencies like Department of Commerce, Transportation and Education. After meeting with cabinet members, we were ushered into the Roosevelt Room again and this time met only with President Obama, Valerie Jarrett and her deputy. At this meeting, I was given the opportunity to speak with the President before he had to call the meeting to an end and expressed the NBA Judicial Council’s thanks for his nominations, especially those of African-American judges, like Judge Bernice Donald of Memphis, TN. In response to his statement that he had submitted the most diverse group of nominations ever, I agreed, but reminded him that the number of African-American candidates was declining. I also reminded the President that many of our federal judges appointed by President Carter or Clinton were about to take senior status or retire. I offered our support and promised our efforts in giving him a pool of younger African-American judges from which to select successors to these judges. The necessity to fight for his candidates once they were nominated was also stressed. My remarks were well received by the President, and by his staff, which may be more important, since they are leaning towards a separate meeting just to discuss judicial issues.
All in all, it was once again a wonderful experience and I am sorry there was not time for the President to take a group photo this trip, but we have been told that there will be more dialogue in the future. Once again, I thank you for allowing me to be your Chair during the time when we have a President who wants to engage in dialogue with the NBA Judicial Council.
—Hon. Marcella Holland, Immediate Past Chair, NBA Judicial Council