The announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement has sent the media and Washington officialdom into a frenzy of speculation that will exhaust us for a good chunk of this year. Within seconds of it hitting the wires, the left leaped into action beating the drum over its preferred appointment.
The mainstream media conveniently forgets President Biden’s campaign promises on COVID, unity, the economy and rebuilding our stature in the world, but when it comes to his pledge to appoint a Black woman to the high court, they’re happy to cure their amnesia.
First there is the speculation about appointing the first Black vice president, Kamala Harris, to the seat. Washington Times reporter Jeff Mordock astutely wrote a potential Harris appointment would, “help Mr. Biden rally with Black voters, while simultaneously dumping her from the ticket.”
The Supreme Court isn’t a dumping ground for failed vice presidents. In fact, no vice president has ever been nominated to the court.
The speculation about Ms. Harris, however, is a distraction to the larger issue.
Americans’ faith in their institutions is collapsing. What they are looking for in any government official is someone who is competent, qualified and there for the right reasons. This is especially true when it comes to the Supreme Court.
Americans will elect virtually anyone to Congress, and that’s the innate beauty of the legislative branch. There are risks, of course, but people from all backgrounds and experiences who wish to represent their communities go to Washington to presumably amplify the voices of the people back home who sent them there. When it comes to Congress, Americans want fewer swamp creatures and more Mr. Smiths.
The Supreme Court is different. Americans are looking for justices who are chosen for their qualifications and positions on the issues, not for their immutable characteristics like race, color or religion. A race-based test that dominates the selection process harms the credibility of the court and the ultimate nominee.
After all, there can be no doubt that Ms. Harris’ dismal poll numbers reflect the reality that her race and gender were leading factors in the decision to put her a heartbeat away from the presidency.
It’s discriminatory no matter what Democrat kingmaker Rep. Jim Clyburn thinks. It’s arguably unconstitutional and little more than another ploy from Democrats to control and manipulate Black Americans into thinking that the left actually cares about their advancement. By advancing an openly discriminatory process, Mr. Biden will drive more national division as well.
A Black woman on the court will not save Black lives in the inner cities. It will not address the crisis of fatherless households among Black families. It will not reform failing public education systems. It will not increase economic mobility for Blacks or any of the left’s aggrieved slices of the American societal pie.
It will not cure the disease of multi-generational government dependency within the Black community.
All of the problems in this nation’s long marginalized Black community persist despite the fact that between 1965 and 2021 the number of Black U.S. House members has increased from 5 to 57, we twice elected a Black president and now have a Caribbean-Indian woman vice president. Our nation’s largest cities have Black or minority mayors.
None of it has made a difference, because the policies of the left haven’t elevated Black Americans.
Of course, then there are the breathless and ridiculous calls from CNN and other left-wing outlets who believe the high court should “reflect America.” There is absolutely a need for diversity, that’s true. However, in looking at the makeup of the court, it already is diverse.
You can’t play the left’s intersectionality game with the court. It’s nine people. What’s next — a transgender justice even though people who suffer from gender dysphoria make up only an estimated 0.5% of the population? When will Mr. Biden appoint the first Asian Zoroastrian?
Justice should be blind. Americans should have a Supreme Court that is comprised of people they are confident are there because of exceptional qualifications, character and fidelity to the Constitution, not gender or color of skin.
If Mr. Biden had courage, he would instill greater confidence in the institution and do something that is a dramatic departure for American politics today — lead without racial labeling. But, of course, the damage has been done with another pointless, pandering, political promise.
• Tom Basile is an author, a former Bush Administration official and the host of “America Right Now” and “Wake Up America Weekend” on Newsmax Television.