While establishment civil-rights leaders in the U.S. have been silent on Sen. Edward Kennedy calling President Bush’s minority judicial nominees “Neanderthals,” one prominent black author is portraying the senator’s comment as “racism in its highest form.”

“Had a Republican made those types of remarks about a Democrat, especially a black or Hispanic, the so-called NAACP, the black caucus, Jesse Jackson, the others, would be burning down America,” said the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of Los Angeles-based BOND, Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, whose purpose is “rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man.”

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

Kennedy’s remarks came at the end of a marathon Senate session last week engineered by Republicans to force a vote on nominees blocked by Democrats who claim Bush’s selections are unfit for the federal bench.

The Massachusetts Democrat said “what has not ended is the resolution and the determination of the members of the United States Senate to continue to resist any Neanderthal that is nominated by this president of the United States for any federal court in the United States.”

Two of the four judges held back by Democrats are minorities, California Supreme Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown and Miguel Estrada. Brown was nominated in July to the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, from which many nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court have come. After two years of opposition, Estrada finally gave up fighting for his nomination to the D.C. court on Sept. 5.

“Mr. Estrada received disgraceful treatment at the hands of 45 U.S. Senators during the more than two years his nomination was pending,” President Bush said of the end of the Estrada battle. “Despite his superb qualifications and the wide bipartisan support for his nomination, these Democrat senators repeatedly blocked an up-or-down vote that would have led to Mr. Estrada’s confirmation. The treatment of this fine man is an unfortunate chapter in the Senate’s history.”

Janice Rogers Brown (Photo: Law.com)

“The problem Democrats like Kennedy have with these judges is that they are conservative,” said Star Parker, president and founder of CURE, the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education, and author of the WND book “Uncle Sam’s Plantation.”

“The lives of Janice Rogers Brown and Miguel Estrada capture everything America is about,” she told WND. “From the founding of this country, it’s been about preserving and defending freedom.”

The other blocked nominees are Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl and Mississippi U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering.

Peterson said Kennedy’s remarks and the lack of response “shows the race issue is not as important to these so-called civil rights leaders as they pretend it is when Republicans or conservatives are concerned.”

“They pretend that they want equality for black Americans,” he said. “They pretend that racism is holding them back, but when blacks are moving forward, as [Brown] is doing – a qualified woman, a good example for all people, especially black Americans – they are doing all they can to hold her back, because her views or principles don’t coincide with theirs.”

Peterson contends the divide is not over race but morals.

“It’s a character issue,” he said. “We’re having a spiritual battle between good and evil, right and wrong. And Justice Brown and these other justices are on the side of good, and the Black Caucus, the Kennedys, the liberal Democrats, are on the side of evil. They are going after people based on that and not color.”

Peterson’s new book “Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America,”, published by WND Books, contends establishment black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are con artists, gaining money and power by promoting racial tension and class warfare.

He thinks Brown, along with all black Americans, deserves an apology from Kennedy.

“This is racism in its highest form,” he said. “This woman has managed to succeed in the greatest country in the world against all opposition.”

Peterson said his group contacted Kennedy’s office but just “got the run-around.”

Kennedy’s press secretary, Jim Manley, did not return WND’s call seeking comment.

Miguel Estrada

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published secret staff memos to Kennedy and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin revealing a scheme to block Bush nominations.

One memo described Miguel Estrada as “especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.”

A Nov. 1, 2001, memo informs Sen. Durbin of meetings he will have with leaders of left-leaning interest groups who will identify “the most controversial and/or vulnerable judicial nominees.”

“The groups would like to postpone action on these nominees until next year, when (presumably) the public will be more tolerant of partisan dissent,” the memo said.

Those groups, according to the document, were likely to include Ralph Neas of People For the American Way, Kate Michelman of NARAL, Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Leslie Proll of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Nancy Zirkin of the American Association of University Women, Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center and Judy Lichtman of National Partnership.

Read Joseph Farah’s column today, “Racism on Dem Plantation”

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“Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” by Star Parker, shows “How the welfare bureaucracy enslaves America’s poor and what you can do about it.”

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