Durbin: Loudest Critics of Biden SCOTUS Pick “Have Never Voted for a Black Nominee”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, hit back at critics of President Joe Biden’s potential nominee to replace the retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, saying that the harshest and loudest critics “have never voted for a Black nominee.”

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, a promise that is now front and center as he weighs prospective nominees to shape the court’s liberal wing. Additionally, the Biden administration has stressed will be important to address the lack of diversified voices on federal courts.

And Durbin, appearing on CNN, came out swinging.

“We’ve had 25 women of color come before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the first year of the Biden administration and some of the people who are speaking the loudest about not choosing a Black woman have never voted for a Black nominee,” he said. “And that’s just the fact I’m sorry to say, but it is the reality of this year 2022 in American history.”

Durbin reminded viewers that it was former President Ronald Reagan who nominated former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the court, and noted that Republicans were silent then, just as they were when former President Donald Trump pledged to nominate a woman to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she died in September 2020. (Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett, who was later confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.)

“I didn’t hear the same criticism from the Republican side,” Durbin said, noting that there is “room for us to consider not only women, but women of color to fill these vacancies.”

You can hear Durbin’s remarks in the video below.

Durbin’s remarks come amid complaints from prominent Republicans, including Fox News personalities, that Biden is not selecting the best possible nominee. Last week, Geraldo Rivera suggested that Biden’s announcement that he would nominate a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court would be “affirmative action.”

“It’s interesting that it’s definitely affirmative action, right? As [the Supreme Court is] considering the affirmative action case against Harvard and University of North Carolina,” he said.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against the suggestion from Republicans that Biden’s pick would amount to “affirmative action,” noting that Republicans did not make this argument when former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump promised to nominate women.

“I would note that there is a long history here. President Reagan promised he would nominate the country’s first woman to serve on the court. He did so. Former President Trump also promised to choose a woman, just over a year ago,” she told the White House press pool.

“There were no such complaints from the voices on the right that are speaking out now,” she added. “But the President’s commitment is to deliver on the promise that was made to the country. But there is no question in his mind that there is a wealth of talented, qualified Black women to choose from.”