Another judicial nominee has been criticized for his association with an all-white country club. The confirmation of U.S. District Judge Joel Dubina to a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would have "a double chilling effect" on civil rights litigation in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, an Alabama professor told a Senate committee this week.
George Munchus III, associate professor of business at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Dubina's resignation from the Montgomery Country Club and his wife's subsequent membership "is subterfuge of the highest order and most reprehensible."
"If non-whites and women are expected to have full faith and confidence in our federal judicial . . . system, this country can ill afford the Joel Dubina types to serve," Munchus said.
The committee last month unanimously approved a non-binding resolution that said belonging to exclusionary clubs is "inappropriate for persons who may be nominated in the future to serve in the federal judiciary."
Dubina testified that his wife joined the club in 1986, shortly after he had resigned his membership prior to his nomination as a U.S. District Court judge. But Dubina said he has neither visited the club nor enjoyed any club privileges since resigning, and he said his wife has promised to resign if the club ever rejects a qualified black applicant.
During questioning by Sen. Howell T. Heflin (D-Ala.) prior to Munchus' testimony, Dubina said no black has ever applied for membership.
Two black lawyers from Montgomery, Kenneth Thomas and Circuit Court Judge Charles Price, testified in support of Dubina, who was nominated for the seat that was left vacant when U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance was killed in a mail-bomb explosion last December.