Joe Biden announced on the campaign trail a couple of years ago that he intended to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court. He re-affirmed that intention today in the wake of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement.
It’s not that Biden has a particular nominee in mind who just happens to be a black woman. No, it’s that being a black woman is the main criteria.
This is not unprecedented for Biden. In the Democrat primaries, he announced he intended to choose a woman for his running mate. And then he did. We got Kamala Harris, who is reasonably qualified for the job – if the only qualification is being a woman.
But it’s not. The job of vice president entails things other than being a woman. On those other things, she’s not up to the job according to polls of the American people. (For Biden, the good news is that she polls even worse than he does. Expect him to boast soon on a hot mike, “C’mon man, I’m still doin’ better than Kamala!”)
Kamala is indeed a lousy VP. But in her defense (don’t worry, this isn’t a long defense) the people know she was picked for what’s between her legs, not what’s between her ears. Heck, Biden told us that in advance. So, it’s no surprise that people haven’t given her the benefit of the doubt.
Biden didn’t care that his prior announcement that he intended an affirmative action VP would stigmatize the woman he chose. What he cared about was that it would make him look good. Whether it made her look bad never entered his “mind.”
To be fair, the world is chock full of ideas that have never entered Joe Biden’s “mind.”
Having learned from his bad experience with Harris exactly as well as he learns from other life experiences, Biden is now in the process of making the same mistake again. He has already labeled his Supreme Court pick a “black woman.” Non-blacks and non-women need not apply.
His pick will consequently be seen as a quota-filler, by her colleagues on the Court, by litigants before the Court, by politicians of all stripes and by the people of America. She may wind up as good as John Marshall, Louis Brandies and Antonin Scalia all rolled into one, but she’ll always be seen as “Biden’s affirmative action pick.”
This illustrates one of several problems with affirmative action. The races that are intended beneficiaries of it are stigmatized. I suppose that’s a good thing with respect to individual minorities who ride the quota gravy train to achieve positions that they don’t deserve. But it’s a bad thing for other individual minorities who could have gotten their position on merit rather than skin color.
Imagine being a great black doctor about whom patients wonder, “Did he get into med school just because he’s black?” It’s a legitimate and logical question, because many did.
The more obvious problem with affirmative action is, of course, that in the process of favoring certain races it inherently disfavors others. If you’re a disfavored race, it’s fair to rename affirmative action as “disaffirming action.”
About 2% of American lawyers are black women. In the upper echelons of the profession, the percentage is even less. Biden therefore refused to consider at least 98% of the persons qualified for the job of Supreme Court justice, on the sole basis of their skin color and sex.
In another context, we’ll see if the Supreme Court curtails its earlier cases allowing this sort of pernicious racial discrimination. By coincidence, they agreed this week to hear the lawsuit by Asian students against Harvard for actively discriminating against them. That suit that may well be heard by a Court that includes Biden’s quota baby.
Glenn Beaton practiced before the Supreme Court.