Federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is on a short list to become the newest U.S. Supreme Court justice, following President Joe Biden’s pre-election promise to name a black woman to the nation’s highest court should a vacancy arise during his presidency. However, we’ve yet to have an Asian, Native American or openly LGBT American on the Supreme Court, and Latinos remain historically underrepresented on the court.
“The irony is that the [U.S.] Supreme Court is at the very same time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination, while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota,” Repugnican (of course) U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (of Mississippi — of course) reportedly has said of President Biden’s plan to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer with a black woman, as he had promised to do before he was elected to White House.
Perhaps my main problem with Biden’s promise is that it apparently was the result of a backroom deal — U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who apparently really runs the Biden presidency, apparently would endorse Biden (greatly helping Biden in South Carolina’s presidential primary election) as president only if Biden promised to fill any vacancy that should arise on the Supreme Court during his presidency with a black woman.
Such backroom deals are blatantly anti-democratic, in my book, but the majority of the American voters did elect Biden, replete with his promise to put a black woman on the nation’s highest court if the opportunity arose, so it was at least somewhat democratic, of course.
Wicker is a prick (affirmative action, practiced fairly and reasonably, is not “affirmative racial discrimination,” but seeks to stop, and perhaps even to some degree reverse, the damage done by actual racial discrimination), but it is ironic that because of (at least informal) affirmative action, we knew in advance the race and sex of the next Supreme Court justice if a President Biden had a say in it, yet the court, controlled by the wingnuts 6-3, does indeed appear to be about to strike down affirmative action.
I support affirmative action in its spirit (in its practice, as I have seen it, it leaves much to be desired). Wikipedia defines “affirmative action” thusly:
Affirmative action refers to a set of policies and practices within a government or organization seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are underrepresented such as education and employment. Historically and internationally, support for affirmative action has sought to achieve goals such as bridging inequalities in employment and pay, increasing access to education, promoting diversity, and redressing apparent past wrongs, harms, or hindrances.
There is nothing there that bothers me. Inclusion, diversity, equal opportunity and proportional representation are crucial to a functional society.
I like how affirmative action apparently is handled in the United Kingdom. Per Wikipedia:
In the United Kingdom, hiring someone simply because of their protected group status, without regard to their performance, is illegal. However, the law in the United Kingdom does allow for membership in a protected and disadvantaged group to be considered in hiring and promotion when the group is under-represented in a given area and if the candidates are of equal merit. The controlling logic is that the person must not be chosen simply because of their group membership, but rather that the relevant authorities are allowed to use disadvantaged group status as a “tie-breaker” between two candidates of otherwise equal merit.
The black woman whom Biden nominates to the Supreme Court most likely will be amply qualified for the job. (If you are affirmative-action hire, no, of course it does not mean that you, by definition, are not qualified for the job, as the likes of Wicker apparently believe.)
Perhaps especially after the likes of the last two additions to the court, “Justice” Brett Kavanaugh and “Justice” Amy Coney Barrett — both very Pussygrabberian “justices” — I think that Biden’s nominee, whoever it is, more likely than not will be qualified.
What does bother me is that all too often, affirmative action, diversity, representation, etc. pretty much refer and apply only to black Americans, while other non-white racial groups, such as Latinos, Native Americans and Asians, too often are left out in the cold.
We never have had a Native American, Asian or openly LGBT U.S. Supreme Court justice, for example. We’ve had two black Americans sit on the court — not enough of them in our nation’s history — and I’d say that “Justice” Clarence Thomas, the second black American on the court, does not represent the best interests of the black American community.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first and thus far the only person of Latin American descent to sit on the Supreme Court. (Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who served on the court in the 1930s, was of Portuguese descent.)
Per the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.5 percent of Americans are Latino, 13.4 percent are black, 6.1 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1.3 percent are Native American (and 60.1 percent of Americans are non-Latino white). The polling outfit Gallup has found that 5.6 percent of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (an undercount, it seems to me, since so many LGBT people won’t identify to others as such, but perhaps as a gay man I’m biased…).
There are nine on the U.S. Supreme Court, so each justice/“justice” represents about 11 percent of the court — and by extension, about 11 percent of the nation.
I’d say that based on their percentage of the total U.S. population, Latinos are due two U.S. Supreme Court justices, and that it’s hard to make a case that blacks’ numbers in the U.S. justify two of them, since two justices represent 22 percent of the court, and while Latinos are approaching 22 percent of the U.S. population, blacks are at 13.4 percent. (Again, though, that said, in fairness, no, Clarence Thomas does not represent the black American community — and he was never meant to; he was a cynical choice by the Repugnicans, who had fully intended to keep the white power structure intact with his addition to the court.)
The stranglehold that black Americans have had on “diversity,” “equity,” “affirmative action” and the like for at least the past several years now means that, again, we’ve yet to have an Asian, Native American, or openly LGBT U.S. Supreme Court justice; these groups are to continue to go without representation on the nation’s highest court, in no small part because they’re not nearly as vocal as are black Americans. (The squeaky wheel gets the grease, indeed.)
There is, though, a silent majority, I might dare to assert.
To wit: Even here in “woke” California — which I’m moving away from in about a month after more than two decades — affirmative action was on the statewide ballot in November 2020 as Proposition 16, and it failed by double digits, with 57.2 percent voting against it and 42.8 percent voting for it.
The reason for that? In my book, it’s because it’s well known here in “woke” California that “affirmative action,” “diversity,” “representation” and the like for the most part, on the ground, the only place where it really matters, mean primarily or even only black people (who comprise only 6.5 percent of all Californians, per the U.S. Census Bureau).
If Latinos, Asians and Native Americans had considered that affirmative action would have helped them here in California, I think that they’d have voted for it. No, they were not so stupid as to have voted against their own best interests; the case is that they knew perfectly well that the affirmative action that was on the ballot in California in November 2020 was not meant to help them.
With President Biden’s pre-election promise to put a black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, we once again see other non-white groups in the United States passed over for equal representation.
That the next Supreme Court justice will be a black woman is a fait accompli — and as long as she’s progressive and looks out for the interests of all Americans of every stripe, I welcome her to the court, which sorely could use some actual justice — but let’s hope that we immediately affirmatively allow other non-white groups (and other underrepresented groups, such as LGBT and Muslim individuals) to have representation in the halls of power also.
Black women, after all, make up no more than 7 percent of all Americans.*
P.S. Slate.com reports:
A resounding majority of Americans want President Joe Biden to consider “all possible nominees” to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
A little more than three-quarters of Americans think Biden should consider everyone and only 23 percent say he should automatically follow through on his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Although Democrats are more supportive of Biden following through on his pledge, 54 percent still say Biden should consider all possible nominees.
Biden has insisted he can follow through on his pledge. “The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said at a recent ceremony honoring Breyer. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.” …
Fact is, most Americans just aren’t on board with affirmative action, as evidenced by the fact that only 23 percent say that Biden should fulfill his campaign promise to replace Stephen Breyer with a black woman. (Again, I think that the term “silent majority” is apt here; many Americans won’t freely share their views on this subject, lest they be called “racist” by the “woke,” who often are “woke” racists themselves.)
I believe that Biden has to follow through with his campaign promise; there is no backing out of it. But it’s a campaign promise that I would not have made. I wouldn’t have narrowed my field so much (and so specifically) and so soon. (And I certainly would not have made a deal with the devil [in this case, the incredibly self-serving James Clyburn, who, at age 81, should have retired by now…])
And I did not vote for Joe Biden for president; I knew that he was going to win my state of California and all of its electoral votes whether I voted for him or not, so it was safe for me to not vote for him, and I did not want to vote for him, since I remain on Team Bernie (you know, the actual Democrats…). Once we scrap the Electoral College and allow only the nationwide popular vote to elect our presidents, our votes for president will matter again outside of the swing states.
And further, since the rather hapless Joe Biden increasingly is looking like Jimmy Carter 2.0, I’m quite happy that I did not vote for him…
*That said, while white males make up no more than around 30 percent of all Americans, about 56 percent of the U.S. Supreme Court — five of the sitting nine justices — are white males, and of course we obviously need to continue to truly diversify the court to make it more reflective of the populace of the United States of America.
And to me, while I’m not a proponent of strict racial quotas, proportional representation is the only fair and democratic way to go.