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ADW Atlanta Daily World Powered by Real Times Media Congressman John Lewis Page 3 Lamell Morris Page 6 R. Kelly Page 8 Volume 85 • Issue 41 Nakesha Whitaker Page 9 May 16 - 22, 2013 In Entire Court Term, Supreme Court Justices See Just One Black Lawyer By Mark Sherman Associated Press In cases before the Supreme Court, there are at least two and sometimes more parties who are granted time to argue their positions. In the current term, the justices heard 193 separate presentations. When Debo Adegbile stepped to the lectern in defense of a landmark voting rights law in February, he was the first -- and as it turned out, the only – African American to make a high court argument this term. Adegbile until recently worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the famed public-interest law firm that mounted generations of civil rights challenges, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that outlawed official segregation in public schools. Before he became a justice, Thurgood Marshall was the organization’s top lawyer and argued several high court cases. Adegbile represented six African-American residents of Shelby County, Ala., which is challenging a key provision of federal voting rights law. Following Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s more legalistic presentation, Adegbile pointed to recent examples of intentional voting discrimination in the South to highlight the ongoing need for the measure. Civil rights cases have historically given minority lawyers the greatest chance to argue before the court, but those cases have been in decline for some time at the Supreme Court. “The more problematic question is, why is civil rights litigation one of the few path- ways available to African-American litigators when clearly they have distinguished them- selves?’’ Jenkins said. In roughly 75 hours of arguments at the Supreme Court since October, only one African-American lawyer appeared before the justices, and for just over 11 minutes. The numbers were marginally better for Hispanic lawyers. Four of them argued for a total of 1 hour, 45 minutes. Women were better represented, accounting for just over 17 percent of the arguments before the justices. AUC Schools Welcome Obama and Admin Officials to Graduation Ceremonies Compiled by ADW Staff The Obama Administration will be well represented at commencement exercises at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) this weekend. The president, his senior advisor and his surgeon general will address graduates at the city’s top three historically Black institutions. The hottest ticket is the Morehouse College graduation ceremony where President Barack Obama will speak. That campus is gearing up for an influx of media representatives, black limousines and tall, quiet men in sunglasses and dark suits. The 129th commencement for the Morehouse class of 2013 is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, May 19, on the Century Campus, which is the yard between Graves Hall and Harkness Hall on the college grounds. The event is for invited guests only and will be closed to the general public. All guests for commencement must present a ticket for entry into the venue and be in their seats by 9 a.m. Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, head of the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, will be the commencement speaker at Clark Atlanta University’s class of 2013 commencement exercises on Monday, May 20, at 8 a.m. Spelman College will hold its 126th Commencement on Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center. United States Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., will be the commencement speaker and will receive an honorary degree. Clark Atlanta University President Carlton E. Brown said, “In Valerie Jarrett, our graduates will enjoy the wisdom of a powerful leader who has throughout her stellar career achieved political and economic gains through the strategic investment of her considerable intellect, her ability to bring diverse groups of people together and her keen ability to create solutions that transcend obstacles, barriers and limitations.” Brown added that Jarrett’s “grace, eloquence and focus speak to the highest standards of comportment for those called to service in both the domestic and international realms.” Named “the Other Power in the West Wing,” by The New York Times, Jarrett is widely considered to be one of the most influential women in America. She is also an outspoken advocate for women. When Jarrett spoke at a February 2012 event aimed at increasing women’s political participation, she said, “My parents raised me to believe that if I worked hard and I focused on my goals, there were no limits to what I could accomplish. My responsibility as the chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls is to help ensure that all women and girls have that same opportunity.” Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jarrett was chief executive officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago. She also served as co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and senior advisor on the Obama for America campaign. Earlier in her career, Jarrett held several positions in both the public and private sector, including the chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, chairman of the Chicago Stock Exchange, chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board, commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago, and deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. Attorney Debo Adegbile was the first and only African American to appear before the Supreme Court this term. In an era when three women, a Hispanic and an African American sit on the court and White men constitute a bare majority of the nine justices, the court is more diverse than the lawyers who argue before it. The arguments that took place from October to April were presented overwhelmingly by White men. The numbers generally reflect the largely White and male upper reaches of the biggest and richest private law firms, where there have been small gains by women and minorities in the past 20 years. A recent survey by the Association for Legal Career Professionals found that more than 93 percent of partners in law firms are White and nearly 80 percent are men. The justices would benefit from seeing lawyers who don’t all look and sound the same, said Alan Jenkins, an African-American former Justice Department lawyer who has argued four cases at the Supreme Court. “It’s especially true of people who appear before the Supreme Court because the court, as an institution, is intentionally set apart from the day-to-day life of the nation,’’ said Jenkins, executive director of the not-for-profit The Opportunity Agenda in New York. She also practiced law with two private law firms. Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. Spelman’s speaker, Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. As “America’s Doctor,” she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, and protect the health of the American People. From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama – which she kept in operation despite damage and destruction inflicted by hurricanes Georges (1998) and Katrina (2005) and a devastating fire (2006) – to her leadership role in the worldwide advancement of preventive health care, Dr. Benjamin has forged a career that has been recognized by a broad spectrum of organizations and publications. Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans, an M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.B.A. from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Ga. Benjamin holds 18 honorary degrees.

Atlanta Daily World Digital Edition 5-16-13

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