President Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States would be considered illegal in any other setting. Employment discrimination based on sex and race is disallowed everywhere but the corridors of power. Perhaps that’s why a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll showed only 23% of Americans supported Mr. Biden’s plan to only consider Black women for this post, while ignoring all other qualified candidates.
Nevertheless there is a real sense in which the forthcoming nomination is a triumph of the American promise. Set aside politics or partisanship for a moment: The expansion of American civic life to encompass all Americans is an intrinsic good. Mr. Biden didn’t actually achieve this himself, nor does his promised SCOTUS pick meaningfully advance that end. Nevertheless, as Americans, we can be satisfied that the utterly noncontroversial nomination of a Black woman to the court signifies that our country’s promise is closer to fulfillment than it has ever before been. (No doubt the nominee will be controversial for reasons wholly unrelated to her race and sex.)
What does it mean, then, that a Black woman is nominated to the Supreme Court in 2022 — long after the country elected a Black president in 2008, and a Black vice president in 2020? It means that the progressive narrative is dead wrong. Far from being a nation conceived in sin, and irrevocably stained by racism, we are a country that strives to fulfill its promise — and elevates to the highest offices those who past generations would have oppressed or despised. Mr. Biden and the left think Black Americans walk the halls of power despite America. We know better: We know they do due to America.
And we know something else besides, something that’s tremendously important — this elevation is not a gift to be given. Black Americans do not achieve what they do because a former Delaware officeholder who cut his teeth in national politics opposing busing allowed them to. They aren’t tokens to be brandished as a sign of ideological virtue. They flourish as fellow citizens because they sought it, demanded it and deserved it.
This ability to see fellow Americans as Americans, as individuals, bearers of their race and heritage but not confined to those qualities, is one big thing that separates ordinary Americans from the progressive left. Mr. Biden is nominating a Black woman because he is hostage to the “intersectional” check-the-box mentality that grips his party. In doing so, he does his eventual nominee a tremendous disservice. No matter the credentials she brings to the table — and they may be prodigious — and no matter how hard she has worked to ascend to the highest court, the president of the United States has already tagged her as a token pick.
What a pity the president, and the progressives at large, cannot perceive the fundamentals of human dignity in this light. But this is what an obsession with race does: It makes you a racist.
We know the political calculus behind it. Black Americans in the Democratic voting base were singularly responsible for the elevation of Mr. Biden in 2020. But the Biden regime has abandoned these fiscal-left, cultural-right black voters, and the president’s polling has suffered accordingly. Now, on the cusp of what promises to be a disastrous midterm cycle, he needs them back — and he thinks a Supreme Court nomination is just the thing.
He’ll find out he’s wrong soon enough. Black voters are sophisticated and, in the same fashion as working-class whites, have a keen sense of their own interests. When Mr. Biden tries to give them a Supreme Court pick, but doesn’t work to give them quality schools, or low-crime communities, or education choice, or reduced inflation, or lower taxes, or expanded employment, or any of the myriad bread-and-butter issues that actually affect daily life, they’ll notice. The bond between Black voters and Democrats is fraying. They’re losing their base. They deserve to.
The question is not whether it will happen, but whether another party will earn their confidence in its stead.
• Brooke L. Rollins is president and CEO of the America First Policy Institute and previously served as former President Donald Trump’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.