An idea whose time has come

The usual right-wing bloggers and noisemakers are throwing tantrums over President Joe Biden’s intention to appoint a black American woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the United States Supreme Court. Their predictable complaints are both laughable and hypocritical.

Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson accuses Biden of obviously giving up on caring about the law, so the president might as well appoint George Floyd’s sister to court. Floyd, of course, is the man from Black Minneapolis who was suffocated by a cop two summers ago.

Carlson’s compatriot at Fox, Sean Hannity, alleges that Biden’s choice could be illegal because, according to his interpretation, it is an act of affirmative action that excludes other well-qualified candidates. Perhaps Hannity should take the case to the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority could rally behind him. (And speaking of preferential treatment, weren’t all those conservatives put on the court, not just because of their credentials, but because they were favored over well-qualified candidates who didn’t share their political leanings?)

Besides being sadly amusing, the comments spouted by Carlson, Hannity and the rest of the right-wing media conveniently and hypocritically ignore the story. While condemning Biden for making his pending candidate’s gender and race criteria explicit, they gloss over the fact that their patron saint, Ronald Reagan, pledged to the campaign in 1980 to appoint a woman in the high court and their demigod, Donald Trump. , announced plans to appoint a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Could it be that Carlson, Hannity and their friends are mostly troubled by the fact that the woman Biden plans to nominate won’t be white?

Biden’s critics claim to uphold the principle that race and gender have never been and should never be factors in choosing a judge for the court. One way or another, following this principle, 95% of the 115 lawyers who were chosen were white men. Some might insist that such an imbalance was unintentional, that it was simply the result of there being so few non-white, non-male judges to choose from for most of the trial. American history. But that is precisely the justification for Biden’s choice.

No, court appointments should not become a politically correct process of allocating slots to every aggrieved identity group in the country, but given the difficult history black Americans have had with the American justice system (may you say Dred Scott?), it’s not hard to argue that adding the perspective of a highly trained black woman to the court is much more than a token gesture.

Now that our country has moved past centuries of discrimination that have discouraged women and non-whites from pursuing legal careers, there are many exceptionally qualified lawyers to choose from who are neither white nor male. Announcing that it’s time to tap into that talent pool and broaden perspectives on the pitch is far from a drastic idea. It is an idea whose time has come.

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