Diversifying Democracy: Appointing a new justice

Courtesy of Unsplash | Looking to fulfill one of his campaign promises, the president said he is going to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

by Zachary Petroff | staff columnist

Feb. 3, 2022

Last week, Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he would be stepping down from the Supreme Court, allowing President Joe Biden to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Stephen Breyer’s decision to retire allows (potentially) the liberals to maintain a seat in an already conservative-leaning Supreme Court. 

Breyer concluded his retirement press conference on a usual note. 

He told a country that has been steadily regressing due to partisan divisions and overwhelming culture wars that he is optimistic that our country is going to be “alright.” 

He is correct. Even when we stumble, our nation’s true resilience relies on our diversity.  

Stephen Breyer, a Bill Clinton appointee in 1994, was a moderate liberal. He has been progressive in regards to social and civil rights issues, most notably for his same-sex marriage vote, his opposition to Louisiana’s abortion law and his dissent on the democracy-killing court case of Citizens United v. FEC.

Looking to fulfill one of his campaign promises, the president is going to nominate the first Black woman to the highest court in the land. Vegas has the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the strong frontrunner.

Despite a world where everything is hyper-partisan and seeded with roots of mis-information and ill intentions, this nomination is set up to be less eventful than previous nominations. 

The conservative side of politics have already started their talking points. They are making loud — and not-so-subtly racist — remarks that Biden only looking at Black, female candidates is somehow not democratic. They will find creative ways to once again turn liberal politics into a direct threat to the ever-so struggling plight of the white man.

It is also worth noting that overrated conservative folk hero Ronald Reagan also made a campaign pledge to nominate the court’s first female justice. A promise he fulfilled with the appointment of Sandra Day O’ Conner.  

Democrats have the tie breaking vote in the Senate. If party lines hold-up as expected, this nomination process will likely mirror that of Biden’s current tenure: uneventful with an overstretching, yet feeble attempt to please rabid conservative voices.

As uninspiring as it appears, this will likely be the correct choice for the nation. 

The Supreme Court is set up as one of the least democratic institutions of the American republic. Supreme Court justices are not elected; They are nominated. The route to a nomination is painfully unclear, allowing for tom-foolery on both sides of the aisle and providing ample opportunity for the hyper-partisans to fully display the ridiculousness and hollowness of the nomination process. 

We have witnessed examples of this in recent history. 

After the passing of one of the horsemen to the American apocalypse, Justice Antonin Scalia, during the Obama administration, the Republican-led Senate guided by grave digger of democracy, Mitch McConnell, refused to allow the properly qualified and politically moderate nomination of Merrick Garland even go to a vote. 

The lack of constitutional guidance has allowed Republicans to make up their own rules, ignoring precedent and using diversion tactics to hijack the process. The non-popular vote winner Donald Trump would take office and appoint three Supreme Court justices, including alleged sexual-assaulter and very under-qualified Brett Kavanaugh. He would be the center of one of the most embarrassing nomination processes in all of American history.  

Thank goodness these are life-long appointments…

The significance of nominating a Black woman to the highest court should not go unnoticed.

In a world almost specifically designed against women, especially women of color, the nomination of a Black woman is critical to this nation’s prosperity. 

The addition of a Black woman will bring a level of perspective that is often forgotten or ignored. 

There will be talk about how it is “unfair” or “not right” to specifically look for a Black woman. They will use terms like “the most” qualified or “best for the job.”  

The roots of these arguments are hypocritical, ridiculous and take away from the success of the future of this nation in order to placate the increasingly sensitive ego of white men. Picking from a pool of qualified Black women to give a voice to a severely under-represented portion of our population is long overdue. 

“Picking the best candidate regardless of race” is a disingenuous statement, mostly being spewed by people in power — usually white, and male…and rich.  One’s background is an essential part of any resume. There have been a plethora of studies that show a direct correlation to an ethnically and gender diverse staff to the success of a company.

We are strongest when listening to voices and ideas that we are not aware of. The secret to America’s success — which tends to get lost with all the loud voices interrupting our every thought at every moment — is our ability to come together. Every notable monumental achievement the U.S. has experienced occurred because of our ability to embrace our uniqueness and accept and value everyone in this country. 

We accomplish very little when we manufacture and feed divergence. 

The strength of this country relies on our ability to be diverse. Diversity leads to compromise. Compromise leads to growth. Growth leads to success.