‘An insult to Black women': Is Sen. Cruz right about Biden's SCOTUS nomination promise?

Verdict with Ted Cruz

Fact Box

  • Ted Cruz has been a Texas Senator since 2013, briefly pausing his term to run for president in 2015, and after endorsing Trump for the election, returned to the Senate. He is known for his passion for “limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution.”
  • On January 29, 2022, on episode 107 of the “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” in response to President Biden’s SCOTUS nominee promise, Cruz stated, “The fact that he’s willing to make a promise at the outset, that it must be a Black woman, I gotta say that’s offensive” and “actually an insult to Black women.” 
  • On January 27, 2022, Biden announced his plan to nominate a Black woman to take the place of retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer along the lines of his campaign promise. He stated, “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. It’s long overdue, in my view.” 
  • A February 2022 ABC/Ipsos poll found that 76% of Americans “want Biden to consider ‘all possible nominees,’ while 23% want him to deliver on his campaign pledge to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court.
  • Pew Research Center reported that 57 members in the House are Black while there are three Black persons in the Senate as of 2021.

Siam (Yes)

Senator Ted Cruz has voiced his opposition with Biden's idea of picking a Black female to SCOTUS, claiming it was an insult to Black women. His critique is right on several points. Republicans see how Democrats openly aim to fill positions by candidates who exist in the 'oppression' matrix, as perpetuated by identity politics or intersectionality—that is, a person of color and usually a female. This leads to qualified candidates being discriminated against because they don't check those boxes or the nominated candidates lacking the best qualifications needed for the job. Democrats seem to no longer believe in meritocracy

Biden has already done this. He selected Vice President Harris based on her sex and skin color, but she has seen increasing disapproval records. Even though Biden promised to elect more Black women to government roles, based on surveys, Americans prefer that the president consider other nominees also. Skin color does not affect one's ability to perform in a position or, in the case of SCOTUS justices, to uphold the Constitution. Likewise, Biden's pronouncements will undermine any candidate's academic achievements and qualifications since they were selected primarily for their immutable characteristics. This takes away their accomplishments and gives it, essentially, to Biden. 

Moreover, Biden's pledge to consider only Black women for SCOTUS also detracts from the individual brilliance/excellence of other female nominees because the selection process is now based on skin color rather than merit. This myopic pledge also limits the shortlist of other underrepresented groups like Asians and indigenous Americans. Finally, Biden's explicit use of race raises legal questions; top American colleges and universities are currently being sued for making race-based admissions, and federal law forbids depriving qualified applicants just based on race.

Ethan (No)

Being nominated for the United States Supreme Court is a huge honor—not an insult. If anything, President Biden's nomination would be an insult to any non-Black man or woman who disagrees with President Biden's efforts to make our government more representative of the country's population and more diverse–and these efforts have been seen before. 

Former President Donald Trump made a similar promise when he vowed to nominate a woman to the supreme court as the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement. In 1980 former President Reagen promised to appoint a woman to the supreme court as well—and both men followed through on those promises. Promising to nominate a Black woman doesn't mean the requirements for the seat have changed. Biden's nominee will still need to be just as qualified as any other Supreme Court member. 

Moves like these break down barriers in the US and make our country better for everyone–including children. Nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court is a huge inspiration for young black girls who will now grow up knowing they are capable of anything in this country. In addition to inspiring an entire generation, diversifying what is currently an almost entirely white supreme court will bring greater understanding and empathy to this very important branch of the US government. Black women comprised almost 13% of the US population in 2019, and it's time these women are given representation on the supreme court. Biden's promise will make that happen. Diversity will help the court make decisions that benefit all US citizens, regardless of gender and race.

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