Action Affirmative

President Joe Biden affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, energizing the most faithful Democratic voters – Black women – and setting up a furious battle leading up to the 2022 midterm elections and bringing all the usual racists to the yard.

Looking to correct and address a disgraceful omission from the Court, President Biden spoke immediately after it was announced that Justice Breyer is retiring, and he was unequivocal in his support for nominating a Black woman.

The noise from every Senate Republican and representative, most of the Beltway press, the usual political commentators and guests on cable news shows, and Democrats who loudly say “Support Black women” until one actually needs support, has been nonstop and obnoxious.

The insults that are historical, but which each generation of racist think are original to them, quickly filled the airways and social media platforms:

Reverse discrimination!

Identity politics!

Pandering!

Quotas!

Wrong disposition for the court!

Not what Dr. King would want!

And, from the racism Hall of Fame

“Affirmative Action selection!”

Black women across the Diaspora must be collectively shaking their head in disgustful familiarity.

Never mind that ninety-six percent of all Supreme Court justices have been white men – who were each selected precisely because they were or are white men – and only five women have ever served on the court, the noisemakers are being given airtime to slander the skills and abilities of the candidates and all Black women.

There have been far too few women on the court and the nation should be embarrassed but isn’t: 

Sandra Day O’Connor – Reagan 1981

Ruth Bader Ginsberg – Clinton 1993

Sonia Sotomayor – Obama 2009

Elena Kagan – Obama 2110

Amy Coney Barrett TFG 2020

So, about every ten years, a woman can make it to the Court. Just not a Black woman. Or Native woman. Or Asian woman.

Representation matters…. unless people are actually represented, I guess.

And just the fact that ONE Black woman will be nominated, all of a sudden, America again loses its collective mind and starts hurling insults and disparaging remarks about the most educated, most resilient, and most consistent voters in America.

Black women deliver the most opportunities for Democrats to be elected to office and get the least amount in return. The votes of Black women always benefit the most Americans, even those Americans who vote against Black women’s interests time and time again.

If voting were exclusively left up to Black women, America would have better health care, better wages, more access to childcare and preschool, better pay for teachers, more affordable housing, fairer courts and law enforcement, cleaner air and water, fewer prisons, and the first woman president.

America would be a better nation, better neighbor, and better international player.

If Black women had their way, America would actually be America and not the unreasonable facsimile it is now.

President Biden knows what he is doing and he will ignore the Beltway pundits and racists and select a Black woman who is fully qualified, a current judge, and one who has already been confirmed with overwhelming approval by Democrats and Republicans.

President Biden said: “While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision except one: The person I 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.”

Here are possible nominees:

Ketanji Brown Jackson, DC Circuit Judge

Ketanji Brown Jackson (2016-2022)
Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Anita Earls North, Carolina Supreme Court associate Justice

Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright Judge, Minnesota’s federal district court

Leondra Kruger, California Supreme Court Justice

Holly A. Thomas, 9th Cir

J. Michelle Childs, South Carolina US District Court Judge

Sherrilyn Ifill, Civil Rights Attorney

Any of the esteemed women on this list could be on the highest court. And should be on the highest Court.

Each one is more qualified than each of the most recently nominated judges: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, or Amy Coney Barrett.

To be instrumental to the creation and development of the nation but excluded from the Supreme Court for hundreds of years is an historical crime that needs to be remedied now, and with additional Supreme Court picks. 

One Black woman on the Supreme Court isn’t enough. Four women aren’t enough. As former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg famously said: “When I am sometimes asked when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

She was, and is, right, of course. 

To extend her thoughts specifically to Black women, we need as many Black women as there are white men on the Supreme Court. The two demographics are the most diametrically opposed: White men are the most loyal Republican voters and Black women are the most loyal Democratic voters. It seems only fair to expand and balance the court with the two most loyal and important party voters.

Americans from all backgrounds should applaud the overdue inclusion of a Black woman on the Supreme Court. That we are in 2022 and still looking for “firsts” in so many political and social areas means that we are far behind where we should be and where we need to be.

The nation has never had a Black woman president or governor — only three senators, a small percentage of judges, university presidents, CEOs of Fortune 1,000 companies, and on and on. The court needs the perspective of Black women who have experience with all the good, bad, and uniqueness of the American experience, across all class demographics.

The Supreme Court has never been fair or supreme because it has purposely excluded the demographic — Black women — that its decisions often had the most devastating effects upon. From freedom, schooling, voting, working, and health care, to law enforcement, wages, abortion, domestic safety, and military service, the Supreme Court has handed down decisions without representation. 

The Court has offered opinions on the lives of Black women without ever listening to a Black woman’s perspective, opinions, or unique lived experiences.

It is past time the Court listens to Black women.

It is time for the Supreme Court to open its doors and make way for the first Black woman …and make room for many more.

© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton.

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Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.  

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