Progressive groups push Biden to pick Black woman for solicitor general

Progressive groups push Biden to pick Black woman for solicitor general
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A slate of progressive groups on Friday pressed President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE to tap the nation’s first Black female solicitor general, saying that doing so would be a sign of his commitment to forming a diverse administration.

Demand Justice, a top progressive judicial group, was joined by Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Demos, Indivisible, Just Democracy, People’s Parity Project, and She Will Rise in recommending a number of Black women for the Justice Department’s No. 4 post.

The groups noted that Biden has already vowed to tap a Black woman to the Supreme Court, but that while it is unclear when a vacancy on the high court will arise, he could make history with his nominee for solicitor general.

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“We recognize and applaud the commitment you have already made to increasing representation for Black women at the highest levels of our legal system,” they wrote in a letter to Biden’s transition team. “While we do not yet know if or when you will have the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, you do have an opportunity to immediately make history by appointing the first Black woman to be Solicitor General, a position commonly referred to as the ‘Tenth Justice.’

“In the 150-year history of the Solicitor General position, only one woman has been confirmed to the job, and only four attorneys of color," they continued. "Appointing the first-ever Black woman Solicitor General of the United States would be an important way for you to underscore your commitment to making a more just, equal, and representative legal system in the United States.”

The groups gave the transition several recommendations, including Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, and Christina Swarns, the executive director of the Innocence Project.

The letter comes as progressives and outside groups pressure Biden to choose more Black and Hispanic people for top administration posts. Biden has already tapped a Black woman to be his ambassador to the United Nations, the first Hispanic to lead the Department of Homeland Security and an Indian American woman to lead the Office of Management and Budget, though much of his core White House staff is white. 

The president-elect has defended his staff hires.

"I'm going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country," Biden told CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOmar calls out Boebert over anti-Muslim remarks, denies Capitol incident took place Republican Rep. Upton unsure if he'll run again Bass calls 'Black pastors' comment during Arbery trial 'despicable' MORE on Thursday.

In an interview with Politico, which was the first to report on the letter, the groups named three prominent Washington lawyers who they said should not be nominated to be solicitor general: Neal Katyal, Lisa Blatt and David Frederick. 

Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, has caught flak from progressives for representing Nestlé in front of the Supreme Court in a case over whether it should be responsible for the use of child slaves by African suppliers. Blatt and Frederick have also been criticized over their corporate clients and defense of at least one of President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE’s Supreme Court picks. 

The Biden transition team declined to comment on the letter.