In a White House event announcing Stephen Breyer’s retirement from the Supreme Court, President Joe Biden reiterated his promise to choose a replacement based on race and sex. He said he had made only one decision about the new justice: that person would be a black woman. “It’s long overdue, in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.” While he confirmed he would burnish his reputation as a champion of racial justice, was there more going on behind Biden’s promise than lofty intentions?
What many don’t know is that Biden’s “commitment” to name a black woman to the Supreme Court likely was not a high-minded if misguided effort, but a simple horse-trade to secure his nomination as the Democratic Party’s choice for president.
Pay for Play
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) endorsed Joe Biden on Feb. 26, 2020. The night before, during a candidate debate, Clyburn put it to him – announce you will appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court or else:
“’Clyburn gets up from his seat in the debate hall in the audience, and he makes a beeline for the exit,’ Allen said. When he found Biden, he unloaded, Allen added. He says, ‘Look, I told you that I wanted you to say that you were going to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court. You haven’t done it yet. You’ve had a bunch of opportunities. Don’t you dare leave this stage without doing it.'”
That quote is from Mike Isikoff, discussing a book co-authored by Jonathan Allen called Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency. The story was confirmed by then-Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show. Clyburn got his public statement from Biden promising a black woman nominee. Biden got Clyburn’s crucial endorsement, leading to Biden’s overwhelming South Carolina victory, his first-ever primary win, and a downhill run into Super Tuesday after poor performances in the Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada primaries.
Biden won more than 48% of the primary votes, and a week before he had polled in the low 20th percentile. A great number of those votes came courtesy of Clyburn’s endorsement. As Liberty Nation’s James Fite reported, “After Joe Biden’s first primary win in South Carolina, 47% of Democratic voters polled ranked Rep. Jim Clyburn’s endorsement as either ‘the most important factor’ or, at least, ‘an important factor’ in voting for Biden.” Biden’s embrace of preferred race as a must-check box for a Supreme Court nominee seemed to be a down payment on the political debt.
No ‘Good’ Discrimination, Please
Only 23% of Americans want Biden to employ race and sex discrimination to pick Breyer’s replacement on the Court. It’s a statistic that demonstrates most Americans eschew appointments based on immutable characteristics. Black people aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, either. That’s according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll detailing the heavily negative opinions of Americans about Biden’s job performance across the board.
“Although the poll’s sample size was not large enough to break out results for Black people, only a little more than 1 in 4 nonwhite Americans (28%) wish for Biden to consider only Black women for the vacancy,” according to the survey.
Clyburn will be paid in full when Biden announces his choice for Breyer’s replacement. However, should the nominee be someone without proper qualifications, Americans may be making payments on Biden’s ideological promises for decades to come.
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.