If President Biden isn’t burdened with enough problems on the international front with the Russian advance to the Ukraine borders, his plans to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court add a contentious domestic dimension.
No sooner had Biden intimated that he was going to consider a Black woman for the Court—a historic first—that GOP notables such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Fox News commentators began voicing their objections. On Monday, Cruz charged that nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court is “offensive.” “The fact that he’s willing to make a promise at the outset, that it must be a Black woman, I gotta say that’s offensive. You know Black women are what, 6% of the U.S. population? He’s saying to 94% of Americans, ‘I don’t give a damn about you, you are ineligible,’” he said during a podcast.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss) weighed in and compared Biden’s promise to affirmative action. “The irony is the Supreme Court, at the very time, is hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination and while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota,” he declared Friday on “The Gallo Show,” a Mississippi program.
Andrew Bates, White House spokesperson, countered with, “When President Reagan honored his campaign pledge to place the first woman on the court, he said ‘it symbolized’ the unique American opportunity ‘that permits persons of any sex, age, or race, from every section and every walk of life to aspire and achieve in a manner never before dreamed about in human history.’” Reagan’s nominee in 1981 was Sandra Day O’Connor, a move done to improve his election bid.
“It is time for a woman to sit among the highest jurists,” Reagan said. He vowed to appoint “the most qualified woman I can possibly find.”
Biden’s nominee, and three Black women are at the top of the list, will replace Justice Stephen Breyer who will be leaving the bench this summer, according to several reports.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) joined Bates in pushing back against the complaints, and as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will have the role of overseeing the nomination process. One of the leading candidates is Judge J. Michelle Childs, a U.S. district judge in South Carolina who is backed by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). The White House confirmed last week that she is a possible nominee. South Carolina and Clyburn, given how critical they were in turning the tide for Biden’s victory, must be seen as a favorite, though Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who clerked for Breyer, has also been mentioned as a top contender.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the U.S. and Russia have intensified their dispute about Ukraine.