Black Women and The Future of the Supreme Court
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
The Supreme Court plays a critical role in America. The Supreme Court has final authority on disputes between states, federal government issues, and an abundance of contentious laws. There are nine judges, known as justices, which serve a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and being approved by the Senate.
Democrats have been pressuring 83-year-old Justice Breyer, the oldest member of the bench, to retire so his seat can be filled with someone younger. Progressives, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, have also publicly called for Bryer to step down.
On the 27th January, following the retirement of justice Stephen Bryer, it was announced that President Joe Biden intended to announce his nominee to become the first ever Black woman to sit on the US supreme court by the end of February 2022.
Biden pledges to replace the liberal-leaning justice with someone worthy of Bryer’s ‘legacy of excellence’. He said this of the nominee: ‘[She] has extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity.’ He also announced ‘that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States supreme court’.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden informally committed to nominating a Black woman to the supreme court in a presidential debate against Trump. Biden claims ‘it is long overdue’. However, this action was initially seen as a response of intense pressure by Jim Clyburn, a prominent Democrat from South Carolina.
The top contender for the job is believed to be 51-year old, Ketanji Brown Jackson. Ms Jackson is a former law clerk to soon-to-be-retired Bryer. Another possible contender is J Michelle Childs, a judge on South Carolina’s federal court.
Biden’s history-making nomination of the first Black female justice is entirely strategic. Doing so, Biden is potentially making amends. His actions could soothe the pressures from some activists that still feel over controversies created during Obama’s presidential years, when Biden’s stewardship of the Senate Judiciary committee during the confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas drew complaints of unfairness. Now, we anticipate Biden to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court later this week.
Written by Aniqa Akhter