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A Statesman Like Act

March 15, 2015

This caught my eye–and deserves attention and respect.

Former Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) called Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to ask that a federal courthouse named after him be renamed for former U.S. District Judge Julius Waties Waring instead, the Charleston Post & Courier reports.

Waring was a relatively unknown judge but one who Hollings believes kicked off the civil rights movement with his rulings.

Said Graham: “I was touched by it; it was incredible. It speaks volumes about Sen. Hollings. Not many people in my business would do that.”

Most lawyers — most people — despised Waring. Many of the state’s politicians wanted him impeached. But Hollings admired the judge.

“He was damned nice to me,” Hollings says. “He made sure young lawyers weren’t bumfuzzled or run over by the senior lawyers.”

Defying his critics, Waring kept pushing the city, and the state, into the 20th century. In 1951, he manipulated the judicial system to force the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a ruling on segregation. He wrote the dissent that became the basis for the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1954, the highest court in the land used Waties Waring’s words to start the civil rights movement.

Waring was the pioneer, the man who changed America, Hollings says, although he remains unappreciated and largely unknown.

Few people realize that some of 20th century America’s most important history transpired in a courtroom that is now part of the Hollings Judicial Center at Meeting and Broad.

And Fritz Hollings is determined to change that. He wants the courthouse dedicated to him nearly 30 years ago renamed the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center.

“I just got the money for the building,” Hollings says. “He made history in it.”

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