Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 25
INTERVIEWER:

YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT JUDGE CAMERON'S ISSUANCE OF THE STAYS.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

After the Fifth Circuit finally ordered James Meredith's admission to the University, one of the more bizarre aspects of the case arose when Judge Cameron of Mississippi issued an order staying the direction of the three judges who sat on the case. This had never happened before in the whole history of our jurisprudence. That is a judge of the court of appeals issuing an order staying the decision of three other judges who were the judges making the decision. And so we had to take that to the United States Supreme Court before James Meredith was finally admitted. Of course the ultimate effect of that was to further delay his admission. But this was just one more indication of the intensity with which Mississippi officials resisted the Brown case. Here was the Judge, a federal judge sitting on the court of appeals, saying in effect, "No," to the United States Supreme Court with respect to the Brown case. A judge who was sworn to uphold the law, who did something which was obviously illegal, and that's what happened in connection with that case. It's never happened before in the whole history of the country and probably never will happen again.