Lawmakers press for second black Justice

The Congressional Black Caucus is launching a campaign to persuade President Obama to appoint one of their members to the Supreme Court seat that will be vacated by Justice David Souter.

They are pressing the merits of Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottEducation Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements Trump admin gave over million in aid to students at unaccredited for-profit colleges CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion MORE (D-Va.), who would increase the number of African- Americans on the court to two. At present, Justice Clarence Thomas is the only African-American on the court.


Members of the black caucus say Scott, who is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, was discussed as being a well-qualified possibility during their caucus’s Wednesday afternoon meeting.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said he would recommend Scott to Obama, and expects to do so. Obama consulted with Conyers before he launched his presidential bid, and Conyers was one of the first lawmakers to endorse him.

Though Scott, 62, is not a judge, he is widely respected in the field of constitutional law, Conyers said.

“He does a brilliant job on the committee separating out constitutional questions,” Conyers added.

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said that CBC members Wednesday discussed that “we need to be actively involved” in the process of selecting a new justice in the wake of Souter’s retirement, and also discussed that Scott “is someone everyone believes in.”

“He has that much-talked-about judicial temperament and he would be able to serve with distinction for a long time,” Cleaver said. “I hope it is something that advisers to the president would take seriously.”

Scott got his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his law degree from Boston College in 1973 and returned to his home of Newport News to practice law. He practiced until he ran for Congress and won in 1992.

He is known as an ardent civil libertarian, having opposed the Patriot Act and efforts to allow states to display the Ten Commandments in schools or government buildings. He was one of three members to oppose condemnation of a federal court decision declaring unconstitutional the words “One Nation Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

A call to Scott’s office for comment was not returned.