Biden promises to nominate Black woman for Supreme Court


Cherlin Kim, Copy Editor

On Jan. 27, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer announced his pending retirement in a White House announcement. On the same day, President Joe Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to fill the vacated Supreme Court seat for a lifetime post. 

Biden first introduced this vow in February 2020, and with Breyer’s retirement, Biden finally has the opportunity to fulfill this commitment, which he believes is “long overdue.” 

There are mixed views on his affirmation; critics argue that as Black women account for 6 percent of the US population, Biden’s commitment implicitly disregards the 94 percent who may be as qualified for the position. Others criticize the commitment as an insult to Black women, who may be viewed as only obtaining nominations for their race and gender, not for skill or qualification.

“Regardless of whether Biden made an internal decision on who will be the next Supreme Court justice or not, I think publicly announcing that this position will be reserved for a Black woman is pretty offensive,” Joon Sung Kim (10), History Honor Society club member, said. 

“A serious institution like the Supreme Court should look for Justices that are the most moral, intelligent, wise, educated, and experienced, regardless of their race and gender,” Peter Kim (11), attentive follower of politics, agreed. 

With 108 out of the 115 Supreme Court justices in history being white men, supporters counter that it is about time for the inclusion of Black women. Others like Senator Wickers acknowledge that Biden’s pledge gives inspiration for future Black females to engage in higher positions, if the first Black woman were to be chosen for the Supreme Court. The New York Times comments that with diversity being the “centerpiece of [Biden’s] legacy,” his decision will give rise to better representation for all Americans in the Supreme Court.

Similarly, The Guardian argues that given conservatives are a large majority of the Supreme Court, the addition of a Black woman will not alter the court’s arithmetic. However, the brewing anger amidst conservatives still rises due to the growing threat to white dominance. 

“I think that making the Supreme Court more representative in terms of political views and race is important,” Jared Rock, political science masters student and SIS seminar facilitator, said. “Thus, I do not believe that this was not a bad commitment for Biden to make, but I do not think it was necessarily wise for him to make this promise publicly, especially because you know how it will feed into a polarized climate.” 

On Jan. 28, the White House revealed Michelle Childs, South Carolina US District Judge, to be one of the candidates for this position. Alongside Childs, the public assumes DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and South Carolina US District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs as other legitimate candidates who are under consideration, though they have not yet been confirmed.