Editorial: Biden’s high court pick all about him

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Editorial: Biden’s high court pick all about him
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Whoever Joe Biden nominates for a seat on the Supreme Court, he owes her an apology.

Because from the time he made the campaign promise that he would fill a high court seat with a Black woman, Biden announced to America that his choice was based on race and gender first, credentials as a jurist second.

Way to pat someone in the back and stab them at the same time.

The new justice, whoever she may be and however laudable her background in law, will carry an intangible asterisk as Biden’s “Black Woman court pick.”

This is not to say Biden should have gone to the well of white men for a replacement for retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. A look at the resumes of the 14 women said to be in the running for Breyer’s seat reveals a formidable set of judicial chops. Any one of these women would be well up to the task.

But in making this about fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden took the wind out of their sails and redirected it to his.

Which is what this was always about.

Biden first made the pledge in a South Carolina Democratic primary debate back in March 2020. He was not doing well, and was pulling out all the stops to appeal to Black voters. In May of that year he told Charlamagne Tha God that  “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

That went over like a lead balloon.

But Biden repeated his Supreme Court promise, as well as his vow to choose a female running mate on the campaign trail.

And here we are.

Biden and his fellow Democrats may hail his nomination as a win for diversity, but it was always about making a campaign promise to get votes. He’s keeping that promise, but by setting it up in such tokenizing terms, it dilutes the achievements, experience and wisdom of whomever is chosen.

Justice Breyer’s retirement is timely, as Democrats approach the midterms with dread. It’s the perfect time for an image-boosting move, such as a bid to further diversify the high court. Twitter may well crash from all the “look what we did” congratulations on swearing in day.

Notably absent from speeches about the impending nomination is mention of the Constitution, which plays a key role in the function of the Supreme Court.

According to the Supreme Court: “As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.”

Whoever becomes the newest justice to sit on the Supreme Court has her work cut out for her — not just in terms of the caseload the high court must read, but in undoing Biden’s damage.

Already, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that a majority of Americans view the Supreme Court as motivated by partisanship. Just over three-quarters of Americans (76%) want Biden to consider “all possible nominees.” Just 23% want him to automatically follow through on his commitment to nominate a Black woman. At a ceremony honoring retiring Justice Breyer, Biden told reporters he is able to honor his promise without compromising on quality.

And it is that sentiment that also undermines the incoming justice. Why would there be a compromise on quality?

Because Joe Biden made it all about him and is just making things worse.

You know how you nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court? You shut up and do it.

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