Juan Williams: GOP playing with racial fire over Supreme Court pick

Have you heard the talk about Vice President Harris being nominated to the Supreme Court?

How about Michelle Obama?

Did someone mention Susan Rice?

Do you see a pattern here?

{mosads}Who’s next? Oprah Winfrey?

The rumors being telegraphed about President Biden’s future pick lump all Black women into an amorphous stew. 

It is a trap.

The gossip takes the focus off other contenders with standout legal intellects like federal appellate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs. These are all-star jurists with distinguished track records on the bench.

But the critics want any Black woman who is selected to have already been labeled as a charity case, an affirmative action baby and undeserving.

This preemptive strike is intended to prevent her from becoming a historic figure — a female Thurgood Marshall, a Black Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Democrats’ own Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the high court.

They are undercutting her now before she has the chance to make a winning impression and be celebrated.

Their strategy is revealing. They know the odds favor her Senate confirmation.

Adding a Biden nominee to the current court will not change its ideological balance. But the prospect of a new Black heroine is an uncomfortable reality for today’s Senate Republicans.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said the yet-to-be-named Black woman is already the “beneficiary of this sort of quota.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said the president’s attention to the race and gender of a nominee is evidence of a “race-obsessed” view among the “hard woke left.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has apparently decided he is a spokesman for Black women. The president’s vow to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court was “offensive,” Cruz said, and “an insult to Black women.”

What do Cruz, Hawley and Wicker say about the fact that some of the Black women being considered by Biden have résumés that exceed the pre-Supreme Court histories of most of the current sitting justices?

The critics want you to forget that for most of American history only white men were considered for the high court. There was no need to mention the race of possible nominees because only one race mattered.

The fact is, only two Black people are among the 115 people who have had a vote on the nation’s highest court. That’s right, two people in more than 230 years.

Those two Black people were men. No Black woman has ever been on the court.

Somehow, no Senate Republicans ever stood up to speak for all the qualified Black women who never got a chance. No expressions of outrage from them at the overwhelming stream of white male candidates for the court.

But now they are laying traps for the first Black female justice.

Keep in mind that Biden, a Democrat, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, won the presidency with tremendous support from Black women. That gives him concrete political reason to point out the systemic failures that precluded earlier consideration of Black women for the top court.

The right wing’s preemptive libel against Black female legal minds comes at a dangerous time in American race relations.

Republicans have made a crusade of blocking efforts to protect minority voting rights.

Former President Trump is urging supporters to protest against Black female prosecutors in New York and Georgia who may indict him for a variety of crimes.

And Republicans are stirring fear of big-city crime to rouse their voters.

A Gallup poll taken last summer found that 57 percent of adults say race relations are either “very bad” or “somewhat bad” while just 42 percent say they are “very good” or “somewhat good.”

This smear campaign against the Supreme Court nominee is an added insult.

{mossecondads}Black people, Latinos, Asians and women know they are underrepresented in positions of political power. This is owing to decades of systemic racism, gender bias and the archaic attitudes of men like Cruz and Wicker.

According to an analysis by BuzzFeed News: “1.8% of federal judges to have ever served have been Black women. … Of the 809 appellate judges to have ever served, 13 have been Black women — making up 1.6%. … Out of 293 federal appeals court judges serving today, 10 are Black women.”

According to a Brennan Center analysis of state supreme courts, “in 22 states, no justices publicly identify as a person of color, including in 11 states where people of color make up at least 20 percent of the population. … Across all state high courts, just 17 percent of justices are Black, Latino, Asian American, or Native American.”

And look at the Senate.

Only three out of 100 U.S. senators are Black — Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.).

There have been no Black female senators since Kamala Harris became vice president.

Now consider the ugly message being sent by ruthless critics, the gossipy trap being employed to demean any one of the outstanding Black women being considered for the Supreme Court.

Republicans love playing with racial fires.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags Cory Booker Donald Trump Joe Biden Josh Hawley Michelle Obama Oprah Winfrey racial justice racial politics Raphael Warnock representation Roger Wicker Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Susan Rice Ted Cruz Tim Scott voting rights

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