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McConnell Breaks With GOP, ‘Not Complaining’ About Biden’s Pledge to Nominate Black Woman to SCOTUS

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has broken with the majority of his party regarding President Joe Biden’s declaration to only nominate a black woman to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Most Senate Republicans have criticized Biden’s move as inherently racist, preferring instead that he focus on meritocracy rather than skin color.

”I heard a couple of people say they thought it was inappropriate for the president to announce he was going to put an African American woman on the court. Honestly, I did not think that was inappropriate,” McConnell told attendees at a luncheon with business leaders in Lexington, Ky.

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During a presidential primary debate in 2020, Biden pledged to nominate the first black woman to the nation’s highest court. The Washington Examiner reports that he is expected to name his nominee by the end of February.

“President Reagan promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O’Connor. President Trump promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. So, I’m not complaining about that,” McConnell told the luncheon.

If the president “picks a highly qualified nominee,” the Kentucky Republican noted further, “she will be respectfully vetted with a kind of process I think you can be proud of — which certainly did not happen when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated.”

Kavanaugh was falsely accused of being a serial rapist by three women during his nomination process, touching off an FBI investigation that cleared him. One woman, Judy Munro-Leighton, admitted she lied under oath as part of a “ploy” to derail Kavanaugh’s path to the high court; she was referred to the Justice Department for prosecution by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), but the department never filed any charges.

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As the Examiner notes, however, “McConnell’s stance is a break from a number of other members of the Senate Republican Conference who critiqued Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman.”

“The irony is that the Supreme Court is at the very time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota,” Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker said on a radio show in January.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on his podcast called it “offensive.”

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“Black women are, what, 6 percent of the U.S. population? He’s saying to 94 percent of Americans, ‘I don’t give a damn about you. You are ineligible,'” Cruz said.

Cruz has also suggested that Biden’s overt reliance on race could also be illegal and unconstitutional.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Cruz stated that he believes it was “wrong” for Biden to “discriminate” by claiming he would only consider a black woman.

“What the president said is that only African American women are eligible for this slot, that 94 percent of Americans are ineligible,” Cruz said.

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“The way Biden ought to do it is to say, ‘I’m going to look for the best justice,’ interview a lot of people, and if he happens to nominate a justice who was an African American woman, then great,” he added.

“If Fox News put a posting, we’re looking for a new host for Fox News Sunday and we will only hire an African American woman or a Hispanic man or a Native American woman, that would be illegal,” Cruz continued.

“I wish he wouldn’t disqualify everybody in America who doesn’t meet that criteria. I think you should pick the most qualified person,” Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told reporters Jan. 31.

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Some Republicans, including Maine moderate Sen. Susan Collins, have not objected to Biden’s pledge, only the way he handled it.

“I would welcome the appointment of a black female to the court. I believe that diversity benefits the Supreme Court,” Collins told ABC last month.

“But the way that the president has handled this nomination has been clumsy at best. It adds to the further perception that the court is a political institution like Congress when it is not supposed to be,” she added.

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