At Unprecedented Pace: Conyers Steps Down from Ranking Member Position

At Unprecedented Pace: Conyers Steps Down from Ranking Member Position


Adam Clayton Powell? Louis Stokes? If anyone can find a quicker step down from a ranking member position or Chairmanship e-mail me at 

Before the details of what happened are fully known. Before an investigation. Before Congress returned from the Thanksgiving break. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stepped down from the Ranking Member position on the House Judiciary Committee.

It was November 20, six days ago, when Buzzfeed revealed that they had obtained the sealed file from a sexual harassment settlement involving Rep. John Conyers.

Junior Democrats had long been whining and complaining about Conyers. At 88 years old, he is the most senior member of the U.S. House and many Democrats have wanted him to step aside for years as Conyers continued as the leading Democrat cycle after cycle after cycle. Those Democrats include members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Strikingly, many of the criticisms leveled at Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi around “a need for change” and “younger leadership” are the same critical statements that have been made by junior members about Conyers. Be careful what you wish for.  Many Democrats in the House have wanted to change leaders for years — and not just the ranking position on Judiciary.

As usual, the pace of justice is almost always unprecedented when it comes to African American members of Congress. Watch the Al Franken situation closely and tell me I’m wrong.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke