Have you heard the talk about Vice President Harris being nominated to the Supreme Court?
How about Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama: Democrats’ 2024 ‘break glass in case of emergency’ candidate Jill Biden adds to communications team in lead-up to midterm elections Michelle Obama: ‘Treat fear as a challenge’ MORE?
Did someone mention Susan RiceSusan RiceKey member of White House immigration team retiring: report Gun control advocates express disappointment with Biden An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff’s book based on Russia fiction MORE?
Do you see a pattern here?
Who’s next? Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail WinfreyThe Unexpected Way Investors Are Capitalizing on the JOBS Act (And How You Can Too) Prince Harry and Meghan treat Atlanta’s King Center to Black-owned food trucks for MLK Day Dr. Oz calls Fauci a ‘petty tyrant,’ challenges him to debate MORE?
The rumors being telegraphed about President BidenJoe BidenBiden to visit Israel later this year Working class insecurity and Build Back Better Experts open the door to lifting last mask mandates MORE’s future pick lump all Black women into an amorphous stew.
It is a trap.
The gossip takes the focus off other contenders with standout legal intellects like federal appellate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs. These are all-star jurists with distinguished track records on the bench.
But the critics want any Black woman who is selected to have already been labeled as a charity case, an affirmative action baby and undeserving.
This preemptive strike is intended to prevent her from becoming an historic figure — a female Thurgood Marshall, a Black Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court should look more like America, or so Republicans once thought Justice Breyer’s parting political act Durbin: Some speaking out about Biden court pick ‘have never voted for a Black nominee’ MORE, the Democrats’ own Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the high court.
They are undercutting her now before she has the chance to make a winning impression and be celebrated.
Their strategy is revealing. They know the odds favor her Senate confirmation.
Adding a Biden nominee to the current court will not change its ideological balance. But the prospect of a new Black heroine is an uncomfortable reality for today’s Senate Republicans.
Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerPence criticizes Biden’s pledge to nominate Black woman to Supreme Court The America COMPETES Act will help US fight corruption and kleptocracy around the world Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon deploying 3,000 troops to Europe MORE (R-Miss.) said the yet-to-be-named Black woman is already the “beneficiary of this sort of quota.”
Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySupreme Court should look more like America, or so Republicans once thought Trump, hurdles loom for Senate election reform talks St. Louis Post-Dispatch slams Hawley: ‘Grossly unfit’ for office MORE (R-Mo.) said the president’s attention to the race and gender of a nominee is evidence of a “race-obsessed” view among the “hard woke left.”
Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhy former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine endorsed a congressional candidate Supreme Court should look more like America, or so Republicans once thought Sunday shows preview: US deploys troops, briefs lawmakers amid Russia-Ukraine tensions MORE (R-Texas) has apparently decided he is a spokesman for black women. The president’s vow to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court was “offensive,” Cruz said, and “an insult to Black women.”
What do Cruz, Hawley and Wicker say about the fact that some of the Black women being considered by Biden have resumés that exceed the pre-Supreme Court histories of most of the current sitting justices?
The critics want you to forget that for most of American history only white men were considered for the high court. There was no need to mention the race of possible nominees because only one race mattered.
The fact is, only two Black people are among the 115 people who have had a vote on the nation’s highest court. That’s right, two people in more than 230 years.
Those two Black people were men. No Black woman has ever been on the court.
Somehow, no Senate Republicans ever stood up to speak for all the qualified Black women who never got a chance. No expressions of outrage from them at the overwhelming stream of white male candidates for the court.
But now they are laying traps for the first Black female justice.
Keep in mind that Biden, a Democrat, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, won the presidency with tremendous support from Black women. That gives him concrete political reason to point out the systemic failures that precluded earlier consideration of Black women for the top court.
The right wing’s preemptive libel against Black female legal minds comes at a dangerous time in American race relations.
Republicans have made a crusade of blocking efforts to protect minority voting rights.
Former President TrumpDonald TrumpAbrams fires back at Perdue, Kemp over criticism of maskless photo Biden to visit Israel later this year Manchin crosses party lines in officially endorsing Murkowski MORE is urging supporters to protest against Black female prosecutors in New York and Georgia who may indict him for a variety of crimes.
And Republicans are stirring fear of big city crime to rouse their voters.
A Gallup poll taken last summer found that 57 percent of adults say race relations are either “very bad” or “somewhat bad” while just 42 percent say they are “very good” or “somewhat good.”
This smear campaign against the Supreme Court nominee is an added insult.
Black people, Latinos, Asians, and women know they are underrepresented in positions of political power. This is owing to decades of systemic racism, gender bias and the archaic attitudes of men like Cruz and Wicker.
According to an analysis by BuzzFeed News: “1.8% of federal judges to have ever served have been Black women…Of the 809 appellate judges to have ever served, 13 have been Black women — making up 1.6%…Out of 293 federal appeals court judges serving today, 10 are Black women.”
According to a Brennan Center analysis of State Supreme Courts, “in 22 states, no justices publicly identify as a person of color, including in 11 states where people of color make up at least 20 percent of the population…Across all state high courts, just 17 percent of justices are Black, Latino, Asian American, or Native American.”
And look at the Senate.
Only three out of one hundred U.S. Senators are Black — Democratic Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerMedia groups divided over bill targeting Google, Facebook digital ad market power NCAA surprise leaves states rethinking college athlete pay rules Sen. Luján suffers stroke, expected to make a full recovery MORE (N.J.) and Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockHaley endorses Walker in Georgia Senate race Five big takeaways from year-end FEC filings The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump sought control of voting machines MORE (Ga.), and Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGraham lobbies White House on Childs for Supreme Court seat Biden meets with Durbin, Grassley on court pick Trump’s political operation enters 2022 with 2 million in the bank MORE (S.C.).
There have been no Black female senators since Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRubio says ‘vice presidents can’t simply decide not to certify an election’ Trump, hurdles loom for Senate election reform talks Pence breaks with Trump: ‘I had no right to overturn the election’ MORE became Vice President.
Now consider the ugly message being sent by ruthless critics, the gossipy trap being employed to demean any one of the outstanding Black women being considered for the Supreme Court.
Republicans love playing with racial fires.
Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.