By Rosetta Miller-Perry
The racist Republican Party is now openly and consistently doing everything it can to derail progress for Black Americans, both statewide and nationally. Whether it’s dividing Nashville into small parts to dilute Black voting access and power, or openly opposing President Biden’s plans to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, the GOP currently is to racist to even try to hide its efforts at restricting opportunity for African Americans at the ballot box and in the courts.
Fortunately, there are plenty of people ready to back the President as he fulfills a campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. The same people who prevented President Obama from appointing anyone to the Court during his time in office are now marshaling their efforts to stop President Biden from appointing a qualified Black woman (notice racist never say a qualified white woman to a Court stacked with right-wing Trump appointees, incidentally all of them are various shades of white).
The likes of Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Tom Cotten didn’t have any problems with a nomination process weighted in favor of white right-wing bigots. They had no concerns about Blacks or any other group except white right-wing bigots being considered when they controlled the Senate and White House. There were no calls about the need for considering everyone, or how unfair it was that Trump wasn’t even thinking about nominating white racist other than those who supported Jim Crow laws.
But now that it’s a Black woman nominee, the Republicans are claiming things are unfair, that it’s somehow racist for Biden to openly acknowledge it is time to have a Black woman on the Supreme Court. The hypocrisy of a party whose entire domestic agenda constantly targets, demeans and hinders African Americans in every way would be funny if it weren’t so sickening and disgusting.
The Tennessee Tribune is proud to join other groups, notably many Black women’s organizations, in strongly supporting President Biden and his ultimate Supreme Court nominee. The Black Women’s Roundtable is starting weekly strategy calls with several other groups, according to a spokesperson. They are also leading roughly 60 organizations planning an event near the Supreme Court on March 10 as a demonstration of support for the nominee that will feature 200 to 300 Black women
“We don’t even know who the nominee is, and they’re already attacking her, which is offensive,” said Karen Finney, a prominent Democratic strategist who has helped organize the efforts along with a collective of Black women leaders. “And we think it’s important to have our voices out there in coordination with many others to say ‘It’s time. This is about representation,” Finney added. “This is about having a Supreme Court with a diversity of lived experiences.”
The efforts of Black women were essential to helping put Biden in the White House and win the Democrats control of the House and Senate. Ever since that election, Republicans have done everything to win back power, from gerrymandering districts across the country to preventing the Voting Rights Act from being strengthened through legislation. Now they want to keep a Black woman off a Supreme Court that they have have stacked with right-wing judicial extremists.
A Black woman on the Court can’t single handedly reverse course for a body that now seems hostile to affirmative action and voting rights reform. But at least there would be another voice different from the majority, one that sadly includes my former boss, the current lone Black justice, Clarence Thomas. Someone is sorely needed to keep the court from becoming totally unwilling to fairly consider issues of social justice and economic opportunity.
The need to support a Biden Black women Court nominee has also been a catalyst that’s revived Black political energy. Every Sunday night hundreds of women are getting together via conference call to discuss how they can help push priorities and support Biden’s picks, including Federal Reserve nominee Lisa Cook, among others. “We have not stopped organizing, but now it’s like it’s been a revival,” said Donna Brazile, a former Democratic National Committee chairwoman who participates in the weekly calls. “It just feels good.”
After Biden initially announced that he would keep his promise of nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, more than 100 influential Black female leaders wrote a letter to thank him for honoring his promise. “Nominating a Black woman with the necessary compassion, sense of justice, and brilliant legal mind will bolster the integrity of the Supreme Court by bringing about a balance that ensures the court is more representative of all Americans,” the letter read.
Brandi Colander, a co-founder of the She Will Rise initiative, a group that has been pushing for a Black woman on the high court, said it is doing outreach to state leaders and mulling partnerships with other groups ahead of the announcement. She said the group aims to keep the nomination process “honorable and respectful” and rebut the narratives around an affirmative action nominee. “We are all committed to making sure that she is honored in this process,” Colander said.
Biden aims to announce a nominee by the end of the month, a powerful way to end Black History Month. He is believed to have narrowed down his choice to a handful of women, including Donna Brazile, J. Michelle Childs and Leondra Kruger. Biden has selected a team of advisers led by former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) to help the White House shepherd the nominee through the confirmation process.
The Tribune urges all those truly interested in progress and justice to rally behind President Biden’s choice. “This person is going to come under attack, this person is going to get trolled, the Republicans are going to come after her, and the question is, how does Biden handle that?” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist and director of Hunter College’s public policy program.
“If he is very sort of soft on his approach, if he’s a little more hands-off, if he doesn’t look like he’s strong, if he doesn’t look like he has a full-throated support of his nominee, then I think it will drive a lot of voters to have questions about him. But if he nominates this African American woman, as he said, and stands by her with all of the force of the White House and the D.C. establishment, then I think that will be motivating to voters,” Smikle said.
Indeed it will, and we also hope every Black American, and people of good will see the Republican attacks for what they are and the GOP for what its become – the most hostile racist political force in American society toward Black Americans since Reconstruction -December 8, 1863.