News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Judge Thomas needs to say more than ‘I didn’t know’

Cullman County District Judge Terri Willingham Thomas may be too na 1/3ve to serve on a statewide court. But what she hopes to pass off as innocence may be a lack of candor.

She said last month that she was not aware that her parents were involved with the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s or that her father received an award from the Council of Conservative Citizens in 1993.

Last week, the Montgomery Advertiser was pressing her again about a CCC meeting she attended in recent months. Again, she displayed a lack of awareness.

Her answer was that she knew nothing about the CCC, but attended the meeting to hear a history lesson on Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The CCC is widely viewed as a racist organization. Its ideology is white supremacy and white separation.

Judge Thomas is asking voters to judge her on her decade of fairness and racial equality on the bench as she runs for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in the November General Election.

That's fair to a point. But voters also must ask if the Republican nominee is coming clean about growing up in a family that obviously held racist views.

That some of her family members participated in Klan activities, however, would not be nearly as important as hearing the judge speak out forcefully against the underlying premise of the CCC.

Perhaps she has done so in Cullman. If so, the rest of the state needs to hear her message and to hear why her picture is in the CCC's May-June newsletter. It shows council director Leonard Wilson at the organization's monthly meeting, held in Cullman, urging members to support Judge Thomas in the July 18 runoff election.

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