Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THESE TACTICS OF THE UNIVERSITY, TRYING TO LOOK AT JAMES MEREDITH'S RECORDS TO SEE IF HE WAS PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNFIT AND THESE VARIOUS TACTICS IN THE LOWER COURT. WERE YOU PREPARED FOR THAT?

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Well, we expected of course resistance from Mississippi with respect to James Meredith's admission. We know that the state would use every strategy available to it to try to prevent his from attending. And of course they looked into his background in vain, for something which they could use against him, something which would say that he was an undesirable individual and was therefore disqualified for that reason and not because of his race. They knew full well that if they came out in a court decision and said, "We don't want him in here because he's black," the court would have to rule with us obviously. But if they could find some other reason for his disqualification, that was what they were looking for. And of course that took a great deal of time in the court proceeding to try to defeat all their efforts to discredit him.