Wallace Jefferson:Oct. 5, 2010
"There was a judge in Waco who fought in the Civil War, distinguished himself in service to the Confederacy, then came back to this community and was a judge again. He was requested by community members to help them suppress the rights of the newly freed slaves, and he came before a community group like this, and he said, 'You know me -- I was a slave owner myself. I fought in the Civil War. But today I'm a judge, and my oath as judge was to preserve, protect and defend a Constitution that today includes the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. I am going to honor my oath, and any of you who contend otherwise are supporting a revolution, and I cannot tolerate that.'
"That judge was named Nicholas W. Battle, and what he was saying was very courageous. Before the Civil War, he had a slave named Cedric Willis. Judge Battle later sought to have Cedric Willis serve on the Waco City Council, and he did, for two terms. That shows you a little bit about this judge's independence and courage.
"Cedric Willis was my great-great-great grandfather. And so I think about this when I think about what it means to be a judge, that there are times that, no matter what your opinion is on an area of law, you have to say, my opinion doesn't matter on this. The question is, what does the constitution require? What does the statute say?"
|||Thomas R. Phillips|