Hinds judge slams Bush|[01/15/07]

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 15, 2007

A Hinds County circuit judge this morning condemned President Bush and lamented the Iraq war during her speech as a guest at the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship breakfast at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Judge Tomie T. Green called it &#8220a nightmare” to have &#8220a president like George W. Bush.”

&#8220America was lied to” about Iraq, she said. &#8220Dr. King is here with us today in spirit, but he’s having a nightmare. We said we couldn’t find Osama bin Laden, but we found Saddam in a hole.”

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The civil rights leader’s birthday is a state and federal holiday, being observed today. He was assassinated in Memphis in 1968.

Green also said the nation was in better shape with former President Bill Clinton in power.

&#8220When President Clinton left office in 2000, employment rates were up and crime was down,” she said.

Green, speaking to about 300 people, also took a shot at Mississippi lawmakers.

&#8220Mississippi would rather spend $30,000 a year to keep (black men) locked up in prison than spend $3,000 a year to educate them,” she said. &#8220That was not Dr. King’s dream.”

Actual state figures peg the annual per-inmate cost at $13,400 and the annual per-pupil allocation at $4,500 before local supplements which, for instance, take the per-pupil cost in the Vicksburg Warren School District to almost $8,000.

The life expectancy of black men, Green said, is just under 50 years because of AIDS and crime. Furthermore, a majority of black children are born into homes where the mothers are head of the house, she said.

&#8220Does that sound like a dream to you? It sounds like a nightmare to me.”

Green was sworn in as a judge in January 1999, becoming the first woman elected as a judge of Hinds County Circuit Court. Until removing herself because she may have to be a witness in upcoming litigation, she presided until criminal indictments against Jackson Mayor Frank Melton were partially resolved in plea bargain.

She had served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1992 until 1998, during which she served as vice-chair of the House Ethics Committee and on its Judiciary A Committee. She also served on committees on elections, insurance, managed care and local and private legislation.

Green attended Jackson public schools until after her 11th-grade year at Jim Hill High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Tougaloo College in north Jackson, her master’s from Jackson State University and her law degree from Mississippi College.

The breakfast is sponsored each year by the Omicron Rho Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Previous speakers have included Melton, former State Supreme Court Justice Fred L. Banks and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson.

It was the first of the day’s MLK events in Vicksburg: