President Joe Biden has promised to nominate the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. His nomination will replace former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen Gerald Breyer.
“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. It’s long overdue in my view,” said Biden in a recording.
Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court will be a catalyst in diversifying high federal positions to reflect the people of this country. The Supreme Court has only had two Black Justices on the court. Additionally, no more than three women justices have served at the same time.
Women and people of color were excluded from the top echelons of the legal profession until the 1970s. While being a country led predominantly by white males, the application pool for justices has expanded to include more women and people of color in recent times.
From the selected pool, Biden has considered California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, South Carolina Judge J. Michelle Childs and federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Representation from within underrepresented communities is imperative in moving the United States towards a more progressive state and reflecting the ideological, cultural and demographic diversity within its borders.
“I think that it’s super important because at this particular time when Congress is broken, there’s going to be an increased demand on our courts to hold the line on the rights that Americans have fought for and won up to this point,” said Nse Ufot, the executive director of the New Georgia Project, in an interview with NPR.
Others, such as Ted Cruz, are not happy with Biden’s decision and claim it to be offensive. However, including the voice of a non-white male is not to appease political constituencies from both marginalized and privileged communities. Rather, appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court aligns with the principles of democratic governance this country was built on. In order to trust and put faith into the Supreme Court, it must represent all U.S. Americans.
This is true for governance of all.
Since starting my academic career at Albion College in 2018, I have seen a significant increase in students of color at the institution. But, representation within faculty and staff is slowly transitioning to reflect it’s students.
Kruger and Childs’ nomination provides a breath of hope that not only is this country on the path to reflect its people, but leadership throughout the nation in institutions, employment and others will also change to do the same.