Nomination of first Black woman to Supreme Court should be celebrated, not deprecated

Mya Harrison, Contributing Writer

“The person I will nominate [to the Supreme Court] will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity — and that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” President Joe Biden said upon announcing the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

One of the many things Biden promised in his 2020 campaign was that he would nominate a Black woman as the next Supreme Court justice. The time has finally come for him to keep the promise he made two years ago.

I believe this will be a monumental event, not just for Black people, but for all Black women across the country. To say the least, it is very disappointing that we have never had a Black woman as a Supreme Court justice.

Seeing a Black woman become a Supreme Court justice will be another reason why we should continue fighting to get more minorities in higher roles of authority, especially within the government. These decisions will help with representational discrepancies we have had over time. Having a Black woman brings an unprecedented perspective to the court.

Since 1789, there have been 115 Supreme Court justices, and for the first 180 years of the Supreme Court only white males served as justices. These white men were solely responsible for judging the constitutionality of the most important events in our country.

For example, do you remember when the all white male Supreme Court ruled in favor of  “Separate but equal,” which segregated African Amercians from white Americans in 1896 during the “Plessy v. Ferguson” case? Not only was this not in the best interest of Black people, but it also paved the way for the creation of Jim Crow Laws.

As time has passed, we have seen the Supreme Court become more diverse. There was a realization that we should appoint people who are different and can bring unique perspectives to the table on top of their obvious required qualifications.

Biden has created a shortlist of Black women who are his potential nominees for the nation’s highest judicial body. Ketanji Brown Jackson and Leondra Kruger are two Black women who could have the chance to serve on the Supreme Court once Stephen Breyer finishes up his term, according to The Washington Post.

Many have supported Biden’s nominee decision, but others feel this is not a fair, well-thought out option, including Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Collins believes that Biden’s decision to nominate a Black woman is politicizing the nomination process.

 “I believe that diversity benefits the Supreme Court,” Collins said in an interview on ABC News. “But the way that the president has handled this nomination has been clumsy at best.”

While I do understand where Collins might be hesitant about this situation, she is painting this picture that Biden rushed this decision. Saying you want something to be diverse and using your privilege and power to do something about it doesn’t mean you are acting politically.

On top of what Biden said about nominating a Black woman, he also said he wants “someone of extraordinary qualifications.” It is not like he is picking someone random for his nomination; it goes without saying that the person he will nominate will be extremely qualified.

On another note, the people who think Biden is being racist for saying he will use his power to put a Black woman in a higher ranking position should understand what racism really is. If anything, this decision is the opposite of racist because he is using his power to uplift a specific group, not put down and certainly not to oppress.

While the story of this nation has been dictated by white men in positions of power for far too long, I’m inspired by the progress that has already been made and that will continue to occur.

We saw Thurgood Marshall nominated as the first Black Supreme Court justice in 1967. 

Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated as the first woman Supreme Court justice in 1987.

Clarence Thomas, another Black man, was nominated in 1991, and Sonia Sotomayor was nominated as the first Latina woman in 2009. 

Now, it’s time to see a Black woman as a Supreme Court justice.

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