Liles Burke, the nominee for U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Alabama, had a portrait of a Confederate leader hanging on his wall — yet he claims he is not racist.
How many times have we heard this before?
During Burke’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) asked him why he had a portrait of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in his office.
Burke defended himself by stating he put it up for “historical significance.”
“I absolutely reject racism in all its forms,” said the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals judge. “The reason that I hung that really has nothing to do with race and everything to do with its historical significance.”
Burke said the portrait for the Confederate president was on his wall from 2011 to 2012. He said Davis’ portrait had been followed by those of other influential politicians like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Booker T. Washington and explained a court archivist had found the picture and suggested Burke hang it on his wall.
Hirono then asked Burke his view on the removal of Confederate monuments from public grounds, to which he “demurred” and said the issue could probably come before a judge and he “shouldn't voice his personal opinion in order to remain impartial.”
Hmm. This answer seems quite evasive.
As for Burke’s claim that hanging the picture of the Confederate president in his office “has nothing to do with race,” news flash, the Confederacy was all about preserving white people’s racial supremacy over African-Americans — so of course, hanging the picture of its president is racist.
After the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the seven states of the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas) become convinced their way of life, based on slavery of people of African descent, was at an end. Hence, behind their conservative Mississippian President Jefferson Davis, the states embroiled in a war with the rest of the United States. The four-year war cost the South nearly 500,000 men killed or wounded from its population of 9 million — which included 3 million slaved).
This is a history lesson that every American is taught in school. Strangely, Burke, who is a Court of Criminal Appeals judge, is not aware of its implications.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters/Jason Miczek