Saturday marks the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, an occasion which was marked by speeches from a seemingly endless line of luminaries, but there was one in particular who caught the light in a way that stood out. Following a performance by music legend Stevie Wonder, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts took to the podium to deliver brief remarks, and he packed a museum’s worth of irony into them:
(Homer Plessy) set in process the test case challenging Jim Crow laws, a test the Supreme Court would fail… If you want to know what those cases were about, you need to meet Dred and Harriet Scott, Plessy, and Oliver and Leola Brown, and you can do that in this new museum.
Chief Justice Roberts is, of course, the man who presided over the 5-4 Shelby v. Holder decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and led directly to laws like those recently deemed racist by a court of appeals, laws that Roberts would likely have upheld in a non-deadlocked court. Maybe Roberts needs to travel to the future and visit the Shelby v. Holder exhibit.
Update: At least one attendee of the museum opening wasn’t having it. Spoken-word artist Secrete Emotions tweeted this photo of her silent protest, turning her back on Roberts at the event:
— Secrete Emotions (@SecreteEmotion1) September 24, 2016
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.