President Biden’s promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court has attracted support among a number of columnists and public officials on the grounds of promoting “diversity.”
Charles Blow, a Black columnist for The New York Times, is much more honest, however. In his view, Biden’s decision was not merely to make the court more diverse. Instead, “President Biden has a chance to make good on his promise and repay Black people . . . for their support,” he writes. “It is important,” he says, “that Black people have a Black person on the court . . . in tune with the views of the Black community.”
Here is one thing you can take to the bank. Whomever Biden nominates, she will not have views in tune with the views of the Black community. More on that below.
Blow’s column makes clear where liberal thought regarding the Court has been trending for quite some time. Rather than an institution to interpret the Constitution, the Court is viewed instead as another legislature with justices who represent constituencies.
In modern times, presidents have often selected Supreme Court Justices in order to curry favor with various groups of voters. President Eisenhower appointed William Brennan in part because he was Catholic. Ronald Reagan chose Sandra Day O’Connor because she was a woman. He chose Antonin Scalia
because he was an Italian-American. Bill Clinton probably appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg in part because she was Jewish. It probably didn’t hurt Judge Sonia Sotomayor that she is Hispanic.
But no one (right or left) ever thought that Brennan was there to represent Catholics, or that O’Connor was there to represent women or that Scalia was there to represent Italians . . ., etc.
Blow’s column represents the first time in modern history that I know of where a column in a major newspaper advocated selecting Supreme Court justices so they can represent the views of any group of voters – let alone a racial group.
Imagine a Times column arguing that Biden’s second choice for a justice (if he gets one) should be a white male – in order to repay all the white males who voted for him. That would be insulting to everyone who isn’t a white male. But it would be even more insulting to white males themselves.
The views of white males on politics, Supreme Court rulings and just about any other issue you can think of span an enormous spectrum. The idea that a white could represent all whites or that a male could represent all males is ludicrous.
The same is true of Blacks. Blow’s column suggests that despite the fact that Black Americans have a multitude of different views on politics, art, music and just about every other aspect of life, the most important thing to know about them in making public policy decisions is their skin color.
What could be more demeaning than that?
I have no doubt that Blow and the editors of the New York Times expect Biden to name a “progressive” justice. But here is what you need to know about everyday Black opinion:
• Only about one-third of Blacks consider themselves progressive.
• Although they favor criminal justice reform, 72 percent oppose “defunding the police.”
• Although they are concerned about voting rights, 69 percent favor voter ID laws.
• Like most Republicans, most Blacks are social conservatives and their support for school choice is off the charts.
In fact, on a great many issues, Black voters are far more in tune with the world view of Justice Clarence Thomas than they will be with any likely Biden appointee.
If Blacks get a seat on the court, what about Asians? What about Native Americans? What about Muslims?
Alan Dershowitz reminds us that the Constitution forbids a religious test for office; and on his reading, the same is true of tests for race and gender. It appears that 76% of Americans agree with him.