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Sen. Buttars says ruling against school segregation was wrong

Published August 22, 2006 6:42 am
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Posted: 6:49 AM- State Sen. Chris Buttars says the landmark 1955 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared public school segregation unconstitutional, was "wrong to begin with."

The West Jordan Republican made the comment in a radio interview Monday and did not amplify.

Buttars was responding to questions from reporter Tom Grover on Logan radio station KVNU-AM.

Buttars plans to introduce a bill that would allow the Senate to remove a state judge from office at the end of the jurist's term if he and fellow senators took issue with the judge's rulings.

When Grover mentioned that "courts are the way for those in the minority ... to ensure (their) rights are protected," Buttars responded with the following:

"I don't understand that at all. You give me an example. I don't know of any example where the minority is being jeopardized by legislative action."

When Grover mentioned the 1955 Brown v. Board of Education ruling as an example, Buttars said: "Well, I think Brown v. Board of Education is wrong to begin with. That's a whole other subject. Call me again and take a half-hour to talk about that."

Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP, said Buttars' comments seemed to show a misunderstanding of the civil rights movement, which she said was propelled by the monumental Brown v. Board ruling.

"We've always had to fight and win our battles in the courts," she said. "For him or anyone else to say the court system isn't needed, they don't know the court system and they don't understand the history of civil rights."

Michael Clara, past chairman of the Coalition for Minorities Advisory Committee, a group that advises the state Board of Education, said Buttars' comments seemed to indicate a "narrow-minded, myopic" view by some lawmakers who seem to misunderstand the role of the courts in civil rights and education.

"It's an indication of the ignorance some legislators have toward the plight of minority students," he said. "In this case, we have one who suffers from historical amnesia."




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