Tulsi Gabbard says Biden’s wrong to limit Supreme Court pick to just black women

Tulsi Gabbard says Biden's wrong to limit Supreme Court pick to just black women

Former Democratic congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard lamented President Biden’s vow to select the first black woman to the Supreme Court, tweeting Monday that “[i]dentity politics is destroying our country.”

“Biden chose [Kamala] Harris as his VP because of the color of her skin and sex — not qualification. She’s been a disaster,” wrote Gabbard, who is part-Samoan. “Now he promises to choose Supreme Court nominee on the same criteria.”

Gabbard, who represented Hawaii for eight years in the House of Representatives, endorsed Biden for president after she dropped out of the race in March 2020.

Biden confirmed last week that he would pick a black woman to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, saying it was “long overdue.”

“I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment,” the president said at the White House.

But new polling indicates this is one campaign promise Americans don’t want Biden to keep.

Congresswoman TULSI GABBARD
Tulsi Gabbard disagrees with Biden’s selection process for his Supreme Court nominee.
Supreme Court
Gabbard suggested Biden choose Kamala Harris as vice president for her gender and skin color.

An ABC/Ipsos survey out Sunday showed that 76 percent of Americans think the president should “consider all possible nominees,” while only 23 percent said he should follow through on his pledge.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was left to defend the selection process Monday, telling reporters that Biden made “a promise to the country.”

“Our latest poll shows that just over three quarters of Americans, 76 percent, want the president to consider all possible nominees, not only black women, as he pledged on the campaign trail,” asked ABC’s Mary Bruce. “What do you make of this and why do you think that a majority of Americans want the president to take a different approach?”

“What we can assure the American public of … is that he will choose and nominate someone who has impeccable credentials and is eminently qualified to serve as a Supreme Court justice and someone who is eminently qualified to serve in the lifetime appointments,” Psaki said. “He did make a promise to the country. That’s certainly how he sees it.”

The press secretary went on to claim that “there’s a long history” of Republican presidents singling out women for seats on the highest court in the land.

“President Reagan promised the country he would nominate the country’s first woman to serve on the court [Sandra Day O’Connor] and he did so,” Psaki said. “Former President Trump also promised to choose a woman [Amy Coney Barrett] just over a year ago.”

US President Donald Trump applauds Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Donald Trump vowed to select a woman for the Supreme Court and was successful with Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
AFP via Getty Images
Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s pledge as normal presidential behavior.
picture alliance / Consolidated

Psaki would not say how many candidates are under consideration for the lifetime position or who at the White House is leading the effort to guide the nomination through the Senate.

The nine-justice Supreme Court currently has three women and six men. One justice, Clarence Thomas, is black, and another, Sonia Sotomayor, is Hispanic. The court has never had an Asian-American or Native American member, a justice who publicly identifies as gay, lesbian or transgender, or one who practices a religion other than Christianity or Judaism.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) elicited Biden’s vow to nominate a black woman to the high court as a condition of Clyburn’s crucial endorsement ahead of South Carolina’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

The third-ranking House Democrat has been openly campaigning for Biden to nominate South Carolina federal judge Michelle Childs, 55, to the post, citing her bipartisan appeal.

“I can’t think of a better person for President Biden to consider for the Supreme Court than Michelle Childs,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

Psaki said Monday that “we appreciate Sen. Graham’s thoughts,” but added Biden “is working hard to choose from a wealth of deeply qualified candidates who bring to bear the strongest records, credentials and abilities that anyone could have for this role.”

Joe Biden
Biden confirmed last week that he would pick a black woman to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, saying it was “long overdue.”

Biden said last week that he plans to announce his pick by the end of February. He will meet Tuesday with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — the chairman and top Republican on the Judiciary Committee — to discuss the process.

Top contenders to replace Breyer include 51-year-old DC appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer clerk who was confirmed by the Senate 53-47 last year with three Republican votes.

Another possibility is 47-year-old Georgia federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, the sister of two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, 45, is also believed to be in contention.

Vice President Kamala Harris, 57, has also been mentioned as a potential contender due to her background as a former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, though the White House has insisted Biden and Harris will run together for re-election in 2024.

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