For months, a Democratic senator has been asking Trump judicial nominees what appears to be a straightforward question: Was Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark decision that ended legalized school segregation, properly decided?
Legal scholars across the ideological spectrum say the answer is clearly yes. Still, more than two dozen nominees have declined to answer the question at a time when many schools remain segregated by race.
The standoff has come to resemble a serious game of chicken. If the nominees say Brown was correctly decided, are they obligated to opine on more controversial precedents, in particular Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s right to abortion? Some nominees say the Democratic senators are not content with statements calling segregation immoral.
The other side says the refusal to engage undermines the national consensus around equal protection under the law that underlies Brown.