‘Unconscionable’: Tallahassee pastor blasts congressman for voting against courthouse renaming

The measure would have named a federal courthouse in Tallahassee after the first black Florida...
The measure would have named a federal courthouse in Tallahassee after the first black Florida Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Woodrow Hatchett.(WCTV)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 12:36 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A prominent pastor is blasting congressman Neal Dunn for voting against naming the federal courthouse in Tallahassee after Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, the first black justice on the Florida Supreme Court.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Rev. R.B. Holmes sent a letter Friday to Dunn, calling his decision “unconscionable, appalling, and wrong.”

“Justice Hatchett was a man of great faith, temperament, prayer and high moral standards,” Rev. Holmes writes, asking Dunn to reconsider his vote against naming the U.S. Courthouse for the Northern District of Florida after Justice Hatchett.

On March 31, Dunn joined 186 fellow Republicans against the bill, preventing the legislation from receiving the two-thirds majority needed to send it to the president. The U.S. Senate had approved the legislation unanimously, and it was co-sponsored in the House by a bipartisan group of nearly the entire Florida congressional delegation, including Dunn.

House Republicans made a last-minute change of course on the measure after Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia raised objections. He cited a 1999 ruling by Judge Hatchett against school prayer.

“Congressman, you joined forces with a few of your republican colleagues to kill the effort ... on the weak political premise that Judge Hatchett voted against the right to pray,” Rev. Holmes writes. “I believe your vote was driven by politics... you put politics over principle and lies over the truth.”

Supporters note that the judge’s ruling was following U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the issue.

Rev. Holmes’ letter also suggests Dunn should lead an effort to name the Florida Supreme Court building after Justice Hatchett.

WCTV has reached out to congressman Dunn’s office for a response to the letter. We are waiting to hear back.

You can read Rev. Holmes’ full letter to Dunn at this link or below.

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