In Virginia, a white judge nixes portraits of other white judges
Judge David Bernhard is a lily-white leftist judge who sits on the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Virginia (in Fairfax). Feeling left out of the woke sweepstakes that have swept through American leftism, Bernhard's entry is his declaration that it's unfair to try a black criminal defendant in a room containing 45 portraits of white former judges. According to Bernhard, the defendant will be so oppressed just by seeing the pictures that a wrong will have been done to him.
Judging by his Wikipedia page, Bernhard, who was born in El Salvador but is quite white, has a record of leftist judicial activism. To begin with, like all good leftists in 2020, he opposes cash bail, which they see as a sign of systemic racism, rather than a way to keep probable criminals off the street or at least behaving well while awaiting trial.
In 2017, Bernard began to tell people during the jury selection phase of the trial what the possible penalties are for a criminal defendant. Traditionally this is done only after the jury renders a decision about guilt or innocence so that the jurors will focus on the applicable law and not on their feelings about the consequences should they decide a defendant violated the law. In 2020, the Democrat-run government turned this non-traditional approach into the law of the state.
Then, in August, Bernhard signed on to a plan to promote "racial equity" in the court. Among other things, the judges voluntarily agreed to subject themselves to Maoist "self-examination." In another Maoist act of self-censorship (and virtue-signaling), they will also try to avoid the word "black" when it has a "negative connotation."
And what's important for the purpose of this story is that judges will also "[i]dentify whether there are symbols in the courthouse and courthouse grounds that carry implications of racism, such as public displays of historical figures who have demonstrated racial hostility."
To a sensible man, that promise would mean no KKK or Nazi insignia and no homages to famous Virginia Democrat politicians who rose to the fore during the Jim Crow era.
Bernhard is not a sensible man. He's either a mindless ideologue or a man desperate for woke fame. That's why this story hit the press:
"While to some the issue of portraits might be a trivial matter, to those subject to the justice system it is far from the case," Bernhard said. "[The portraits] may serve as unintended but implicit symbols that suggest the courtroom may be a place historically administered by whites for whites."
Bernhard's concern isn't that a sense of systemic oppression will be further propagated by the presence of the portraits but rather that they will unfairly prejudice onlookers—and juries—against an ethnically varied defendant. He released a court opinion clarifying his position.
"The broader concern is whether in a justice system, where criminal defendants are disproportionately of color and judges disproportionately white, it is appropriate for the symbols that ornament the hallowed courtrooms of justice to favor a particular race or color," Bernhard said.
What Bernhard misses is that, if he's worried about black defendants being overwhelmed by the whiteness of the Fairfax County Judiciary, the most compelling thing Bernhard could do is to quit, clearing the way for some racially appropriate judge to take his place (and preferably a non-binary racially appropriate person who alters sexual personas on different days of the week). But that's something these white, virtue-signaling leftists will never do.
Whether in courtrooms, classrooms, or political offices, it never occurs to these toxic, privileged white people that they need to remove themselves from the equation. That's not how they roll. They want to remove Republican white people from the equation, get the glory for themselves, and retain their racist white positions, lording it over the non-white people about whom they claim to care so much.
Bernhard isn't a racially sensitive man. He's a racially obsessed egomaniac who's making pointless gestures rather than really putting himself and his career on the line. What a loser.