Flashback: Biden Effectively Killed Potential Nomination Of First Black Woman To Supreme Court

Joe Biden blocked the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown (a black woman) to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit. In 2003, he warned President George W. Bush that he would follow suit if Brown was nominated to be the first African woman to the Supreme Court.

Senator Biden and fellow Democrats stalled Brown’s nomination to the Court of Appeals for nearly two years.

The D.C. Circuit’s prominence and prestige among American courts ranks behind only the U.S. Supreme Court, with more jurists going on to serve on the Supreme Court than any other.

Brown, who was nominated to serve on the Circuit Court by Bush, had taken a similar route and was hailed as an ideal Supreme Court nominee. However, Democrats obstructed the nomination and made Bush renominate Brown in 2005. She was finally confirmed by the Senate.

It was not possible for her to make it to the Supreme Court.

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Biden Filibustered Potential First Black Woman nominee to Supreme Court

What happened next is certainly relevant to today’s scenario in which Biden, now President, has vowed to nominate the first black female to the Supreme Court.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement on July 1st, 2005, and Brown was on Bush’s shortlist to replace her.

“She would have been the first Black woman ever nominated to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court,” writes columnist Marc Thiessen for the Washington Post.

Two days after O’Connor’s announcement, Biden appeared on “Face the Nation” to warn Bush that Brown specifically would face a filibuster if she were nominated.

“I can assure you that would be a very, very, very difficult fight and she probably would be filibustered,” threatened Biden.

Twice Biden had worked overtime to derail Brown’s ascension through the judicial system. Twice he had used the filibuster (once literally, once as a threat), something he now calls a “relic of the Jim Crow era,” to railroad a black female jurist.

“There has never been a successful filibuster of a nominee for associate justice in the history of the republic,” Thiessen writes. “Biden wanted to make a Black woman the first in history to have her nomination killed by filibuster.”

Bush nominated Samuel Alito in the end on October 31, 2005.

Biden, of course, also played a key role in trying to steamroll Justice Clarence Thomas’s nomination as he presided over confirmation hearings over 30 years ago, an effort Thomas described at the time as an attempted “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.”

Biden served as the Senate Judiciary Chair at the time Anita Hill made allegations against Thomas for sexual harassment.

Thomas is just the second African American to be a Supreme Court Justice.

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Republicans Capitulate

Winsome Sears, the first black woman to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor, questioned the timing of President Biden’s newfound obsession with selecting somebody to serve on the Supreme Court based on their race and gender.

“When I first heard that he was going to nominate the first black woman, I thought to myself, three words,” Sears said in a recent interview. “Janice Rogers Brown.”

“Where were you, Mr. President, when we wanted her to be on the Supreme Court?”

Barack Obama in 2005 was an Illinois junior senator and disparaged Janice Rogers Brown when he spoke against her nomination.

Obama accused her of being a judicial activist, a woman possessing the “willingness to consistently side with the powerful over the powerless.”

He went on to argue that her interpretation of the role of the judiciary is “simply intellectually dishonest and logically incoherent.”

Now imagine any Republican Senators using that phrasing to describe President Biden’s nominee.

If Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is any indication, Senate Republicans won’t even mount much of an argument as to the credentials and merit of Biden’s selection.

“Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America,” Graham proudly beamed.

“You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America,” he continued. “Affirmative action is picking somebody not as well qualified for past wrongs.”

Graham already displays a negative attitude, despite polling suggesting that a majority of Americans are opposed to selecting a Supreme Court nominee on the basis of skin color or gender.

“Just over three-quarters of Americans (76%) want Biden to consider ‘all possible nominees,’” ABC News reports.

“Just 23% want him to automatically follow through on his history-making commitment that the White House seems keen on seeing through.”

In the past, President Biden made many controversial remarks about race.

That includes comments going all the way back to when he argued desegregation would mean his children would be forced into a “racial jungle” and his most recent campaign when he told African-American voters “you ain’t black” if you don’t vote for him.