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Clarence Page: First Black woman Supreme Court nominee faces same old ‘ridiculousness’

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

You can tell a lot about the strength of President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee by the weakness and shallowness of the political backlash against her.

When Biden announced on the campaign trail that he intended to nominate the first Black woman justice, everyone knew that conservatives would still control the Supreme Court, regardless of whom Biden picked.

Of the nine justices on the high court, six were appointed by a Republican president and three, including the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, were appointed by Democrats.

And when Biden on Friday named Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to replace Breyer, for whom she used to be a clerk, there was little question that the double graduate of Harvard and former editor of the Harvard Law Review was, at the very least, qualified.

Yet, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took out his shovel that day and proceeded to dig up what sounded like dirt.

“I understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left, dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself,” he said in a statement.

 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued in his own statement, “Even before this nominee was named, the right-wing donors who packed the Court under President Trump sought to disparage Justice Breyer’s replacement, alleging the same dark-money scheme that they, themselves, hatched and executed.”

But even before Jackson’s nomination was announced, a storm was brewing, aimed particularly at Biden’s bold promise on the campaign trail to name the high court’s first Black woman justice.

Biden’s political sin was to violate a traditional bit of Washington etiquette in matters of race and gender: Pretend as though you haven’t made up your mind, even though you already have.

President Ronald Reagan, an iconic figure in Republican lore, similarly promised to name the first woman, who turned out to be Sandra Day O’Connor. It was about time then, too.

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(c) 2022 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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