When you care enough …

… to send the very best to the Supreme Court

you don’t promise in advance to appoint a Black woman to the exclusion of all others. Not unless you already know without question that the most experienced, best-qualified jurist in the nation is a Black woman.

Pres. Joe Biden’s campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court probably garnered him some support among Black women voters, just as his promise to choose a female vice president probably garnered some support among women (and we know how that turned out).

Worried that I was being racist, I was relieved to learn yesterday that I’m among 76% of Americans who want Biden to consider “all possible nominees,” not just Black women. It’s great if the very best candidate is a Black woman but wrong to eliminate in advance any consideration of other candidates. Race alone does not determine your fitness for a position, nor does gender. (Are you listening colleges, employers, etc?) What if the best, most qualified, most experienced jurist in the land is Asian or Indian or Hispanic or, God forbid, white and male? Just ignore them?

Joe, I think you really put your foot in it this time. And there’s probably no way to extricate yourself now. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

And the country will be worse off because of it.

24 thoughts on “When you care enough …

  1. I agree it wasn’t smart – it was typical politics. But if ANYONE suggests that the Republicans picked the best and brightest jurists for the highest court in the land, they need to take their heads out of the sand. I find them an embarrassment, particularly when it comes to the separation of state and religion. And it was all politics too.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t like hearing it this way either. Having made the campaign promise, he could have just made the nomination without repeating the promise. But, as previous commenter indicated, compared to the red’s handling of SCOTUS nominations, this doesn’t look as bad. As you say, “typical politics” has become truly nauseating in this shithole country of ours.

    1. Good point. If he’d just kept quiet and nominated a Black woman, probably nobody would have given it a second thought. Sometimes he’s a little too forthcoming for his own good.

  3. Alas we do not live in a meritocracy! White, middle class/wealthy men (in particularly but not exclusively) are routinely given positions of power and influence when they lack the even the basic credentials and experience to take on those roles. Not to mention the the total lack of an equal playing field in a country so riddled with systemic racial, gender and homophobic failings. This comments box is not large enough to list all the examples of white men who have “fallen up” – but I’m sure you can list many of your own examples x

    1. Hi, and welcome to Pied Type. Our democracy has become an oligarchy (or maybe always has been), just as you describe it. Any list of those who’ve “fallen up” would be a waste of time and make us both ill. It doesn’t help that politics is such a dirty business, good people stay out of it. I lost hope when a majority of Americans elected our previous president. Not that I like Hillary (quite the opposite), but I was familiar with that man’s disgusting history and bizarre thinking (birther instigator) and was horrified that a majority of Americans voted for him.

      1. It’s the same over here too! UK is a oligarchy comprised mainly of Etonians and the world can see the mess that’s caused when a powerful few only act in their own interests. And yet there are still varst amounts of the British population defending Boris Johnson and the Conservative party- A large part of the responsibility falls onto the press which is no longer fit for purpose.

          1. There’s obviously not enough critical thinking among the masses these days or the media would be called out on their excesses, oversights, and biases. Critical thinking should be taught in school at an early age and encouraged throughout the school years.

  4. Well, i did spend quite some time composing a response to this, but it disappeared when I tried to post it! I must learn to copy stuff on WordPress before posting. Here goes again.

    PT, you are obviously not alone in deploring limiting the selection process on the basis of gender and race but selecting the best possible person for this job is, I submit, not possible. All potential candidates are human. None is without flaw. and therefore the process is fundamentally subjective. Is it not a worthy goal that the makeup of the court be representative of the population? The selection of a black woman will doubly increase the makeup of the court, an additional woman (60% of the population) and blacks (12%). (I don’t think Clarence counts here.)

    1. I understand what you’re saying, but it’s a slippery slope. Few entities are large enough to include a properly proportionate representative of every segment of the population: LGBTQ, brown, Black, Asian, male, female, mentally or physically challenged, Muslims, red-heads, etc., etc., etc. I was first exposed to this conundrum when I worked in educational publishing where our K-12 textbooks were supposed to include representatives of all segments of the population. I certainly don’t object to the appointment of a Black woman to the court. It’s the Black woman to the announced exclusion of all others that I find objectionable. Whether it’s school admissions, job applications, or government appointments, I think an opening should always go to the candidate best qualified for the position regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. Isn’t it reverse discrimination to do otherwise?

      1. It would be reverse discrimination if there were a way to assure that any candidate was “best qualified,” but there isn’t. The record has examples of justices who turned out to rule differently that expected. John Roberts might be a recent example.

        1. But isn’t reverse discrimination a matter of race or minority status? If you announce you’re going to choose a minority race simply because of their race, and not because they are the best qualified, you’ve discriminated against the majority.

  5. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m going to guess that Biden was asked by a reporter if he’d pledge to appoint a black woman to the court if elected and, caught off guard, he said yes. All of a sudden, it becomes a campaign promise. Anyway, I like the idea of the court looking more like America. I read that something like out of 118 supreme court judges, 105 were white males. I’m sure he can find plenty of qualified black women to fill the post. I’m not losing sleep over it.

  6. Although I share the opinion of the majority here who deplore the idea of considering only a single human variety in pursuit of the next Supreme Court Justice instead of approaching the choice based on the best…

    What I really deplore is the idea that choosing either a conservative (Republican) or a liberal (Democrat) is a valid way to insure that the powers AND limits bestowed on the government by the constitution is paramount.

    I know, I know.. I’m anal that way.

    1. Not at all. That’s what I had in mind when I wrote “Now if only that included diverse political leanings” in my previous comment. And to think in my younger, naive years, I honestly believed Supreme Court Justices were above politics and made decisions based strictly on the law.

... and that's my two cents

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