A majority of Americans do not support President Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court without reviewing all potential candidates, a new poll found.
Biden first promised to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court during the spring 2020 presidential primaries. Now, with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retiring, Biden will have the opportunity to fill a vacancy on the High Court and says he plans to honor his promise.
A new ABC News/ Ipsos poll found that 76 percent of Americans want Biden to consider “all possible nominees,” while only 23 percent want him to automatically follow through on his promise to nominate a black woman.
Just 28 percent of nonwhite Americans want Biden to consider only black women for the soon-to-be open seat, the poll found. Even a majority of Democrats — 54 percent — prefer that Biden weigh all possible nominees.
Biden said last week that he will nominate 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. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”
The list of likely candidates includes federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer law clerk, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court.
Biden has come under fire his decision to limit the list of potential nominees to black women.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said in a tweet last week, “Would be nice if Pres Biden chose a Supreme Court nominee who was best qualified without a race/gender litmus test. That’s what I did when I picked Tim Scott as Senator of South Carolina.”
However, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) on Sunday defended Biden’s promise: “This is not the first time that a president has signaled what they’re looking for in a nominee.”
.@SenatorDurbin responds to critics who say Pres. Biden should consider all possible nominees, not just Black women, for the Supreme Court.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 30, 2022
Durbin noted President Ronald Reagan said he would appoint a woman to the Supreme Court, as did President Donald Trump when he filled the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
“I would just say the bottom line is this: in terms of African American women, if they have achieved the level of success in practice of law and jurisprudence, they’ve done it against great odds,” he said. “They’re extraordinary people. Usually the first of anything in the United States turns out to be extraordinary in their background and the same is true there.”
He concluded: “They’re all going to face the same close scrutiny. This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land and I just hope that those who are critical of the president’s selection aren’t doing it for personal reasons.”
Meanwhile, the poll found 43 percent of voters believe justices rule “on the basis of their partisan political views” rather than “on the basis of law.” Just 38 percent of respondents said justices rule on the basis of law.