February 17, 2016

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006

We the undersigned, representing the Experts of Color Network–a group of more than 200 scholars, advocates, and community-based practitioners focused on building a fair and inclusive society, request that you use your constitutional prerogative as President of the United States of America to expeditiously nominate a qualified justice to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

We understand that this is a unique moment in U.S. history with seismic shifts in demography, technology, culture, and the economy changing the nature of work, society, and the way we relate to each other and our environment. These changes are made more profound by the growing inequality that pervades our society and threatens the foundation of our union.

For this reason, we ask that you appoint a constitutional visionary, someone who sees the ways in which our increasingly pluralistic society is evolving and articulates a jurisprudence—likely over the course of decades—that applies the Constitution’s text and principles to engage our new reality.

This constitutional visionary must possess the life experiences, preparation, knowledge, and perspective that reflects a deep appreciation for our nation’s diversity as well as an understanding of how historical laws, policies and practices have shaped the clear patterns of opportunity and adversity we see today.

Towards this goal, we believe that the nominee must also possess:

  • A fair mind and an openness to interpreting the world in new ways;
  • A deep and abiding appreciation for social justice;
  • A belief in the concept of universal adult suffrage and in the principle of one person, one vote as the bedrock of our democracy;
  • A respect for the equality, dignity, and value of all people;
  • An understanding of and respect for the sovereignty of Native Nations;
  • A determination to ensure the laws are instituted for the equal benefit, security, and protection of all people; and
  • An aversion to denying any person or group their civil, human, or political rights based on race, color, creed, ability, gender, sexual identification, or national origin.

As Americans of all backgrounds, we also expect your nominee to reflect the diversity of the United States.

In our view, these are essential parameters in our quest to make this great nation a more perfect union.

Thank you for your time and careful consideration.


Maya Rockeymoore, Ph.D.
Center for Global Policy Solutions

Thomas M. Shapiro
Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy
Heller School for Social Policy
Brandeis University

Collette Pichon Battle, Executive Director
Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy

Joe Brooks, Senior Fellow

Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

Marc Morial, CEO
National Urban League

Rachel Rose Starks
Senior Researcher in Indigenous Governance

Meizhu Lui, Board Member
Highlander Research and Education Center

Deyanira Del Rio, Co-Director
New Economy Project

Makani Themba, Chief Strategist
Higher Ground Change Strategies

Paul Ong, Professor
Center for Neighborhood Knowledge
University of California, Los Angeles

Hyepin Im, President and CEO
Korean Churches for Community Development

Yunju Nam, Associate Professor
University at Buffalo State
University of New York

James Fenelon, Professor
Center for Indigenous People Studies
California State University, San Bernadino

Rudy Arredondo
National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association

Katherine Giscombe
Organizational Development Consultant

Ivye L. Allen, President
Foundation for the Mid South

Jeannette Huezo, Executive Director & Senior Popular Educator
United for a Fair Economy, UFE

Charles L. Betsey, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Howard University

Rene Bryce-Laporte, Principal
Bryce-Laporte Information and Consulting

Aracely Panameno
Latino Affairs Director
Center for Responsible Lending

Connie E. Evans, President and CEO
Association for Enterprise Opportunity

Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director
National Congress of American Indians

Aixa Cintron-Velez, Program Director
The Russell Sage Foundation

Trina Shanks, Associate Professor
University of Michigan

Karen Landry, Executive Director
War on Poverty-Florida
RAISE Florida Network

Dante Desiderio, Executive Director
Native American Finance Officers Association

Gena McClendon, Project Director
Center for Social Development

Anne Price, Managing Director
Insight Center for Community Economic Development

Don Shircel, Client Development Director
Tanana Chiefs Conference

Alfonso Morales, Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Duane Champagne, Professor
University of California, Los Angeles

David J. Pate, Jr., Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

john a. powell, Professor
Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
and The Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion
University of California, Berkeley

Robert Wynn, Founder
Asset Builders of America, Inc.