Cori Bush leads push for Biden to go past symbolism with Supreme court pick

Washington DC – A group of Black female lawmakers commended President Joe Biden’s commitment to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, but outlined the type of jurist they want to see elevated.

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush urged Biden to go beyond symbolism in appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Democratic Rep. Cori Bush urged Biden to go beyond symbolism in appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

"The nomination of a Black woman is not mere symbolism; it is an essential step for our country’s promise of justice for all," the women said on Thursday in a letter to Biden.

"It is therefore of utmost importance that the administration appoints a Black woman with a strong track record of advancing civil and constitutionally protected rights, and whose work has shown dedication to affirming the rights of our country’s most marginalized communities," the letter states.

Led by Rep. Cori Bush, 13 other Black women in Congress signed the letter.

Tyre Nichols funeral sees renewed call for political action on police reform
Black Lives Matter Tyre Nichols funeral sees renewed call for political action on police reform

Biden has said he plans to announce his choice to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer by the end of February, Black History Month.

Both of California’s senators, Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, serve on the panel, which will vet the nominee at a public hearing and vote in committee before the nominee can advance to the floor.

All but seven Supreme Court justices in US history have been white men, the women said, adding that it’s no coincidence the court’s precedents have largely reflected the perspectives of white men.

"We write to you as a collective of 14 Black women lawmakers serving in the United States House of Representatives, but write on behalf of the over 21 million Black women in America," they said.

"There is not a single Black woman in the United States Senate to vote to confirm the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court," the letter reads.

"For this reason, we write as a collective to commend you for this historic announcement, and ask that the nominee reflect a deep and abiding commitment to adjudicate with moral and legal clarity."

The top contenders

The top candidates from l. to r .: Justice Leondra Kruger, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Judge Michelle Childs.
The top candidates from l. to r .: Justice Leondra Kruger, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Judge Michelle Childs.  © Collage: Screenshot/C-SPAN & IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Justice Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court, and Judge J. Michelle Childs of the US District Court for the District of South Carolina are among the top names considered.

Jackson was confirmed to the circuit last summer with the support of all Democrats and three Republicans.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose timely endorsement in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary saved Biden’s campaign, has publicly pushed for Childs, who has also received vocal support from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina. But she has garnered criticism from progressives who argue that she’s anti-labor. Childs' record as an attorney and then judge shows her consistently siding with employers in discrimination and unionization-based lawsuits.

College Board succumbs to Gov. DeSantis' pressure and revises African American studies course
US politics College Board succumbs to Gov. DeSantis' pressure and revises African American studies course

In a roundtable with a group of Black reporters Tuesday, Bush said members shouldn’t be pitting Black women against each other as Biden considers a nominee. Asked specifically about Childs, Bush said she doesn’t know her background well. But in earlier comments, the Missouri Democrat said she wanted to see a nominee who is strong on criminal legal reform and worker protections.

"I don’t have a name. I want the person that has those qualifications to rise to the top," she said. "I just don’t think it’s our place to pit Black women against each other trying to get this spot. No, let’s push all of them up there."

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

More on Politicians: