Biden has vowed to fill the next empty Supreme Court seat with a Black woman. Of course, Republicans are masking their innate racism by calling foul, and churning up their respective bases with cries of affirmative action and “reverse racism.”
As co-founder of the She Will Rise initiative, Brandi Colander, tells Daily Kos: “It is beyond time.” Despite the GOP’s tactic of calling affirmative action, Colander says it is “classically, laughably reductive,” and “we’re not going to take the bait.”
The 14 congresswomen say their focus is on the record of the person nominated, not just stellar education and legal experience but “an established record of working to advance racial justice and eradicating entrenched white supremacy is of the utmost importance in reviving the Supreme Court’s credibility.”
Although the letter’s signees did not specifically name any nominees of choice, a year ago, She Will Rise created a shortlist of Supreme Court nominees.
The list includes Michelle Alexander, visiting professor of social justice at Union Theological Seminary; North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley; Elise Boddie, professor of law at Rutgers University; Kristin Clarke, president and executive director with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls; and Fatima Gross Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, to name a few.
One likely name that has been widely circulated is U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and a law clerk for former Justice Stephen Breyer. Jackson grew up in Miami, Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in government from Harvard College and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Jackson served as a law clerk for three federal judges, including Judge Patti B. Saris and U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Judge Bruce M. Selya (1997–1998). Then she clerked for Breyer from 1999 until 2000.
Another nominee is Leondra Kruger, 45, a justice on California’s Supreme Court. Kruger was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother immigrated from Jamaica to the U.S. and her late father was an American Jew. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and her Juris Doctor degree from Yale University, where she served as the editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal. She was appointed to the California Supreme Court in 2014 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. She’s the court’s second Black woman justice and at 38, the youngest appointee to the court.
In an interview with the Grid, Pressley also indicated support for outgoing NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, calling her an “extraordinary” pick. Additionally, Pressley mentions Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd.
Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, is holding Biden’s feet to fire, issuing a statement recently urging him to follow through and nominate a Black woman as the next justice.
“The court should reflect the diversity of our country, and it is unacceptable that we have never in our nation’s history had a Black woman sit on the Supreme Court of the United States — I want to change that,” she said.
The congresswomen also cited the lack of Black women in the formal confirmation process aside from Vice President Kamala Harris, who has the power to cast a tiebreaking vote if needed. The fact that there are no Black women senators is what prompted the letter, according to Balls And Strikes.
But the fact is, never in the history of America have we had a Black woman nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court in its 233-year history.
In a recent op-ed for Balls and Strikes, lawyer and author Madiba K. Dennie wrote that “white men make up about 30 percent of the country’s population today, but account for about 94 percent of all Supreme Court justices. Nearly twice as many white guys named John have been Supreme Court justices as the combined number of people of color and white women to have ever served on the Court.”
The letter highlights how badly the court needs the representation of a Black woman.
Black women have been delivering for liberals at every turn, from showing up at the polls to supporting policies and laws that have improved the lives of Americans. As the letter underscores, ”It is long past time for a Black woman to be on the Supreme Court,” adding that confirming a Black woman “is crucial in confronting this country’s racial, civil rights, and democratic crises.”
“The appointment of a Black woman justice with an established record of working to advance racial justice and eradicating entrenched white supremacy is of the utmost importance in reviving the Supreme Court’s credibility,” the letter reads.
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