CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang asked press secretary Jen Psaki whether President Joe Biden was willing to make a pledge to appoint an Asian-American or a member of the LGBTQ community to the Supreme Court.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, Jiang noted Biden’s promise to continue to diversify the high court — and his campaign pledge to fill the first possible vacancy with a black woman. Since Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s imminent retirement has given Biden the chance to fulfill that promise, Jiang asked whether the president had considered making similar pledges to the communities that had not yet seen representation in SCOTUS robes.
CBS's Weijia Jiang to Jen Psaki: "[G]iven the President's commitment to diversify [the Supreme Court]…there's never been an Asian American justice or LGBTQ justice, so will he make a similar pledge?" pic.twitter.com/AQbaTk73iI
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 2, 2022
“One more on the Supreme Court: given the President’s commitment to diversify it, will he make similar pledges should he have another opportunity to nominate someone — for example, there’s never been an Asian American justice or LGBTQ justice, so will he make a similar pledge?”
Psaki’s response was that Biden’s record, as far as appointing broad selection of diverse judges, speaks for itself. “He has an enormous number of justices — judges — he has nominated who are people of color, who are women. He has nominated and confirmed an extraordinarily diverse bench of qualified individuals to serve on the courts. And that is certainly a priority for him.”
“I don’t have any new pledges to announce for, but I think I would point you to his record, which speaks to his commitment to ensuring the court is more diverse,” Psaki continued. “Lower courts are more diverse, higher courts are more diverse, and that is something that he will continue to look at as a priority.”
Biden has taken some criticism for his pledge to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court, mainly from conservatives who argue that it is both racist and sexist to choose a justice by first eliminating all potential nominees who are not a specific race or sex.
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway said as much in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Biden, she explained, was “pledging to be both racist and sexist” by effectively discriminating against all potential nominees who did not match his preferred race and sex — before even seeing any of their qualifications.
“President Biden pledging to be both racist and sexist” pic.twitter.com/eSmclanilM
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 28, 2022
“The View” host Sunny Hostin took a different tack, saying that it was important for Biden to fulfill that promise — especially because it could shore up support among black women voters going into the midterm elections. “It’s a great time for [Biden] to change the narrative with the [Black] community,” she explained.
With Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retiring, @Sunny Hostin says "it's a great time for [Biden] to change the narrative with the [Black] community": "Keeping his promise to the community is very important." https://t.co/mSZs91onxp pic.twitter.com/wvze4xXWMh
— The View (@TheView) January 27, 2022
“Meet the Press” moderator and NBC political editor Chuck Todd also weighed in on the subject, saying that just having the chance to nominate a justice — and hopefully get one confirmed in the coming months — could give Biden a boost. He explained that it could provide the president with a much-needed political win in the wake of his recent high-profile legislative failures: Build Back Better, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act.