Trump’s Legal Team Compares His Case to the Racist So-Called “Scottsboro Boys” Case

Eight of the nine "Scottsboro boys" in 1936: (from left to right) Ozie Powell, Olen Montgomery, William Roberson, Charles Weems, Clarence Norris, Haywood Patterson, Laura Kellum, Andrew Wright, Eugene Williams. Leroy Wright is not pictured. Also pictured: Juanita Jackson Mitchell (lawyer and activist of the NAACP, fourth from the left), Laura Kellum (third from the right), and Ernest W. Taggart (far right). Image source: Britton & Patterson via Wikimedia Commons.

Trump and his legal team have no shame! In a recent filing by Trump’s legal team, hoping to push back his trial for electoral interference, the lawyers cited the so-called “Scottsboro Boys” case.

In Alabama in 1931, nine African American teenagers were sentenced to death or long prison sentences for the alleged rape of two white women. The trial was conducted under intense racist public opinion, with the defendants met by screaming mobs at the court house. Later a lynch mob tried to remove them from jail to kill them. The trial started just six days after the indictments. The case was conducted with blatant prejudice against the defendants in front of an all-white jury. The case led to massive protests and legal appeals by African American activists. Although the youths were sentenced, and the campaign to free them failed in its objective, it was still a very important struggle against the racist mockery of justice conducted against Black people in the U.S., especially in the South. Later, the Supreme Court ruled that they had not had enough time to prepare their case.

Now Trump’s legal team is shamelessly making a comparison with the trial of Trump, saying that public opinion is prejudiced against him, and that he doesn’t have time to prepare his case! It is classic Trump, with no regard for the facts, and making a mockery of one of the most important cases of legal injustice perpetrated against African Americans by the U.S. legal system. Judge Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump’s case, had no patience for his legal team’s reasoning. The judge told Trump’s team to stop complaining and start preparing for trial.

Trump’s court case will go forward in March, and though this incident seems like just another ridiculous episode in the story of Trump’s political career, it also shows that Trump continues to play games with the country’s racist past and present, stoking the fires of racism to win voters. It is a dangerous approach that feeds on and increases the racism of this society.