Black women are taking control of the narrative’: The road ahead as Biden commits to historic Supreme Court nomination

Black women are taking control of the narrative’: The road ahead as Biden commits to historic Supreme Court nomination

More than 100 influential Black women leaders thanked President Joe Biden in a letter for honoring his promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, who if confirmed, would be the first to ever sit on the bench.

The letter, delivered to the White House Friday, is intended to both praise the president and express their readiness to mobilize around the eventual Black woman nominee ahead of what’s expected to be a rough confirmation process.

“We believe that it’s important that Black women show our appreciation to the President for unequivocally keeping his word on this promise that he made during the campaign and to lay down a marker that says, ‘This woman, we will have her back,'” Karen Finney, a senior Democratic strategist and CNN contributor who helped craft the letter, told CNN in an interview. “It’s also an expression joy.”

The letter applauded Biden for “seizing this moment in history to lead with a vision of America at its best and ensuring that the leadership of our democracy reflects a diversity of lived experiences at the highest levels.”

“Nominating a Black woman with the necessary compassion, sense of justice, and brilliant legal mind will bolster the integrity of the Supreme Court by bringing about a balance that ensures the court is more representative of all Americans,” the letter reads.

Biden on Thursday committed to the historic nomination, fulfilling a campaign promise he first made in South Carolina, tapping into a state where Black women voters make up a sizable portion of the electorate. The pledge helped him secure notable endorsements in the state, propelling him to victory, but also recognized the wishes of Black women political leaders whose power was skyrocketing and demanded the Democratic party respond in kind.

“The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said on Thursday. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for President, and I will keep that commitment.”

Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, who helped lead the crafting of the letter, thanked Biden during an interview with CNN for keeping his word as “a lot of times with politicians that doesn’t happen.”

“In 233 years, there’s never been one,” Campbell said of a Black woman Supreme Court Justice. “That means that that lived experience of Black women has never been represented on that court.”

Now that their representation has become real possibility, she and a coalition of influential Black women — consisting of a wide swath of prominent political figures and friends of Biden that had an outsized role in persuading the President in private and public to choose a Black woman as his vice president — are readying themselves for what comes next.

Campbell said the letter is meant to elevate the names of Black women thought to be on Biden’s shortlist of potential nominees that have been circulating Washington well before Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement plans became public.

The White House confirmed Friday that South Carolina US District Judge J. Michelle Childs is among the people President Joe Biden is considering as nominee. Other women rumored to be on the shortlist include DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.

The nomination will provide the country with another example of a Black women leader. Despite Vice President Kamala Harris’ groundbreaking election, the country currently has no Black governors or Black female senators.

“They have exemplary academic backgrounds, judicial backgrounds, isn’t that all you need?” Campbell asked.

But already some the potential nominees have been labeled as “radical” by Republican lawmakers who’ve criticized the president’s pledge or cast the eventual nominee as a “beneficiary” of affirmative action.

Preparing for the onslaught, Black women leaders are looking to set the terms of what will and will not be tolerated. The goal, Brown said, is to uplift the women’s character and qualifications.

“Baseline is a highly qualified Black woman. We’ve been in this game enough, we’ve been in this nation long enough, that we present our best always,” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Georgia-based Black Voters Matter, told CNN. “We’re not going to be in the conversation that we’re proving that we’re qualified. 

Source: CNN

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