During the opening of last week's confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a number of right-wing Republican senators attacked Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black member of the Court and the legendary former NAACP lawyer behind the Brown vs Board of Education decision. Kagan served as a law clerk for the iconic jurist and praised his record.
Thurgood Mashall was recently sainted by the Episcopal Church. The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington, responds to the Republican attacks on one its saints:
Not often is a saint of the Episcopal Church attacked in the chambers of the United States Senate, but incredibly, it has happened this week. As we prepare to celebrate our cherished American values of equality and justice on Independence Day, we must also rise to defend Justice Thurgood Marshall, an Episcopalian who embodied those ideals.
Marshall is an Episcopal saint. He was the first African American to become a justice of the United States Supreme Court and was the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case that struck down the institutional racism of segregated public schools. He was also a man of deep religious principles. Last summer, the Episcopal Church voted to include him in our book of saints, calledHoly Women, Holy Men. May 17, the day of the Brown vs. Board decision, is his feast.
During his years in Washington, Justice Marshall and his family belonged to St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, where his widow, Sissy, is still an active member. On behalf of all Episcopalians in the Diocese of Washington, I extend to her my sympathy for the hurtful remarks made this week about her late husband. Let me assure Mrs. Marshall and all Episcopalians that our church is resolute in our gratitude for and admiration of Justice Marshall’s legacy, and we pray that we may all receive his exceptional grace and courage to speak the truth.
The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane D.D.
Bishop of Washington
Dana Milbank at The Washington Post notes that since Kagan has not yet been confirmed, Republicans "still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi."