WASHINGTON (AP) -- Getting more blacks on federal appeals courts
will be a top priority of the Congressional Black Caucus in the
year 2000, especially on the court that hears cases where the
highest concentration of African-Americans live, the group's
chairman said Wednesday.
No black person has ever served on the Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeals, which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North
Carolina and South Carolina, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said.
"I would suggest that the principle of judgment by one's peers
is seriously impaired" in the circuit, said Clyburn, who spoke
during the first day of the caucus' 1999 Annual Legislative
The country's top black lawmakers also are concerned with the
2000 census, Clyburn said. Minorities historically have been
undercounted in the census, which helps determine how much federal
money goes to each state and how many representatives each state
has in Congress.
"In 1990, eight million people were not counted and a
disproportionately high percentage of the uncounted were
African-Americans and Hispanics, yet there was an overcount of
white Americans who owned more than one home," Clyburn said.
"This undercounting amounts to denial of services, inadequate
funding and under representation."
Clyburn said a third concern would be "environmental justice,"
adding that many caucus members represent some of the nation's
"They should not and must not be expected to choose between
good health for their constituents and decent levels of income and
economic opportunities for the communities they represent,"
Clyburn said. "Equity means fairness in the way we protect the
everyday lives and livelihoods of every American."