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A Good Name Goes Bad

W. Scott Cole

Posted on January 31, 2019 03:51

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Thurgood Marshall was the grandson of a slave. He was born in 1908 and passed from this life in 1993. He was the lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which ended school segregation. As a U.S. Attorney, he argued and won more Supreme Court cases than anyone ever has. President Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1967, making him the first black man to be a Justice in our highest court. He was a great man and his legacy is secure. His son is another matter.

Thurgood Marshall, Jr. started out following his father’s footsteps. He is an attorney and he served as a White House Cabinet secretary during the Clinton administration. He followed that with a position as Director of Legislative Affairs and Deputy Counsel to Al Gore.

At present, he serves on the American Law Association's Legislative Law Committee, as a board member of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Women’s Law Center, the Supreme Court Historical Society, the Ethics Oversight Committee of the United States Olympic Committee, and a member of the Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The Ford Foundation is a multi-million dollar philanthropic organization that funds much of the criminal justice reform activity in this country.

You would be right in saying it sounds like a man determined to leave as proud a mark on history as his father. However, as anyone who has been in prison can tell you, a good man can make a bad decision that mars a good name, leaving a black mark that cannot be removed and forever casts a shadow on any good works he has done or will do.

For Thurgood Marshall, Jr., that bad decision came in 2002. He did not commit a crime and he did not go to prison. He sold out by accepting a position on the Board of Directors of Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison corporation in the United States, which in 2003, changed its name to CoreCivic.

One might ask why he sold out by accepting the position to be on the Board of CoreCivic. He will tell you it was to attempt to change it for the better from within, which is a lofty goal, but upon closer examination, a different story emerges.

In 16 years, there is no trace of any change for the better anywhere in CoreCivic, much less one spearheaded by Thurgood Marshall Jr. Since 2004, he has donated $62,500 to their political action committee, which donates large sums of money to politicians that favor longer, harsher prison sentences for anyone convicted of a crime. If you think that sounds like a conflict of interest with the mission of the Ford Foundation, you would be right.

In 2017 alone, his compensation from CoreCivic was $234,005. The total from 2006 to 2017 reaches $2,221,944.

I used the words “sold out” intentionally. He sold out the Ford Foundation, who overlooked the conflict of interest, raising questions about their commitment to criminal justice reform. He sold out his father’s good name when he accepted the position on CoreCivic’s Board, which raises questions about his reasons for doing all the good work he has done.

The plantation owners in the South before the Civil War made their profits from the very human misery of their slaves. Thurgood Marshall Jr. sold out all minorities and poor people when he accepted a position on the Board of a company whose primary purpose is to make money from incarcerating its fellow citizens.

W. Scott Cole

Posted on January 31, 2019 03:51

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Source: TIME

The legal career of Thurgood Marshall — the man who became famous arguing cases such as Brown v. Board of Education...

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