The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a black woman to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. During the presidential campaign, Biden promised to nominate only a black woman to the Supreme Court and to choose a woman as his nominee for vice president. He is determined to keep both promises, even though his female vice president is an absolute disaster.
The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity. And that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court…. It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.
The main qualifications for choosing the next Justice will be race and sex – two categories that various court cases have declared cannot be used to determine ability. In addition, such a decision is inherently unfair. It is unfair to the nominee, and it is unfair to every other potential nominee. It basically says, “No men need apply. No white women, Asian women, or Native American women need apply.”
Distinguished attorney Jonathan Turley wrote that Biden’s decision to “impose a racial and gender exclusionary rule will now unnecessarily add a controversy to his nomination.” The sad thing about Biden’s promise is that his eventual choice – even though professionally qualified – will be saddled “with an asterisk nomination that is unfair to both the nominee and the Court.” According to Turley, Biden should have expressed his desire to put a black woman on the court, while adding that he would seek the best qualified individual.
Most Americans do not object to having a black woman on the Supreme Court. Black women deserve the honor as much as white women do – or Native American women or Asian American women or men of all races. Americans deserve to have the best qualified individual sitting on the highest court of the land.
Polls show that most Americans disapprove of Biden’s criteria for nominating the next Supreme Court Justice. This ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that “Americans overwhelmingly believe Joe Biden should ‘consider all possible nominees’ (76%) rather than ‘consider only nominees who are Black women, as he has pledged to do’ (23%).” There are “major differences in attitudes” about this topic with “virtually all Republicans saying, ‘consider all’ (95%) compared to only half of Democrats (54%).