Rep. Al Green blasts Judiciary Committee for lack of diversity in impeachment witnesses

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) slammed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for a lack of diversity in a panel of witnesses during its first impeachment hearing.

Green — who has been one of the most vocal supporters of impeaching President Trump — argued it was a misstep to bring in four constitutional law experts: Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law; Pamela Karlan, a professor of public interest law at Stanford Law School; Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law; and Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School who is also an opinion contributor for The Hill.

“It hurts my heart, Mr. Speaker, to see the Judiciary Committee hearing experts on the topic of impeachment, one of the seminal issues of this Congress. Hearing experts, Mr. Speaker, and not one person of color among the experts,” he said during a speech on the floor.

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“What subliminal message are we sending to the world when we have experts but not one person of color? Are we saying that there are no people of color who are experts on this topic of impeachment? What is the message that we’re sending? Mr. Speaker, if I am wrong, I will apologize, but if the committee is wrong, if the Congress is wrong, what will it do?”

Green slammed the panel for failing to seek out qualified and diverse experts on constitutional law.

“Mr. Speaker, people of color for too long have been ignored by one party and taken for granted by the other, too often this happens, not always but too often it happens. Mr. Speaker, I refuse to be ignored and taken for granted. I came here to represent the people who are ignored and taken for granted. Not one person of color among the constitutional scholars,” he continued.

“It seems that there’s a desire among some to have the output of people of color without input from the people of color. It seems to me that we have reached a point where we’ve got to have this debate about what these committees are going to do when we have our various persons appear before us as witnesses. We ought to have balance as it relates to all aspects of society, and that would include people of color.”

Green added that he feels it is critical that diversity be taken into consideration for future hearings.

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“So Mr. Speaker, I rise today with great regret. I rise today to say that this is not about Democrats, it’s not about Republicans, it’s about fairness. It’s about whether or not we have matured to the point in this country where we’re going to treat all people equally,” he said.

“It’s about whether we have metamorphosed to a point where we will not allow committees to have persons appear without considering the diversity and the richness of that diversity within this country.”

The House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump shifted to the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday after the chamber’s Intelligence panel issued a scathing 300-page report accusing Trump of abusing his power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstructing its eight-week probe.

Read more from The Hill:

Live coverage: House Judiciary Committee holds first impeachment hearing

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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