Senator who said Biden’s pick an affirmative action ‘beneficiary’ rebuked

The White House is pushing back on comments made by Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R), who told a local radio station Friday that President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court would be a “beneficiary” of affirmative action after Biden said he would keep his promise to select a Black woman to fill a vacancy on the high court.

In response to Wicker’s comments, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement that the Mississippi Republican appeared to have no issue when former President Trump said he would nominate a woman to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“When the previous president followed through on his own promise to place a woman on the Supreme Court, Senator Wicker said, ‘I have five granddaughters, the oldest one is 10. I think Justice Amy Coney Barrett will prove to be an inspiration to these five granddaughters and to my grown daughters.’ We hope Senator Wicker will give President Biden’s nominee the same consideration he gave to then-Judge Barrett,” Bates said.

Wicker on Friday suggested to a local radio host that Biden’s choice to select the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice would somehow be a conflict related to affirmative action cases currently before the justices.

“The irony is that the Supreme Court is at the very same time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota,” Wicker said in an interview on SuperTalk Mississippi radio.

“The majority of the court may be saying writ large that it’s unconstitutional. We’ll see how that irony works out,” he added, suggesting that Biden’s choice “will probably not get a single Republican vote.”

The Hill has reached out to Wicker for comment. 

Fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) on Sunday disputed Wicker’s comments, saying he supports making U.S. institutions “look like America.” 

“Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America. You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America. Affirmative action is picking somebody not as well qualified for past wrongs,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

During a formal announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer‘s retirement, Biden said he would keep his campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to fill the lifelong position on the Supreme Court without compromising on the quality of the justice. 

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Donald Trump Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Roger Wicker Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen Breyer
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