African American women’s groups feel President Barack Obama let them down with his choice of Merrick Garland as the Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
They feel that Merrick, who is a federal appeals court chief judge, is the wrong color and wrong sex.
“The fact that he would once again look over black women for this specific appointment is an absolute slap in the face to his top supporters,” Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women, said, according to The Associated Press.
Minority voters — in particular black women — have been the president’s most loyal supporters in his two presidential campaigns and they would like to see that loyalty returned. The AP reported:
Black women may feel especially rejected, considering their large turnout in 2008 (68 percent) and 2012 (70 percent). The vast majority of them, 96 percent, voted for Obama in 2012, according to exit poll data.
Also on Obama’s short list were Paul Watford, a black federal appeals court judge, and Sri Srinivasan, who could have laid claim to two Supreme Court firsts — its first Asian American and its first Hindu.
According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, Obama settled on Garland “for one reason and one reason only, and that is simply that he believes that Chief Judge Garland is the best person in America to do that job.”
Still, there are many who feel disappointed Obama didn’t appoint a “judge who can add to diversity on a court that still fails to represent the richness we see in our communities,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Lakshmi Sridaran, director of national policy and advocacy for South Asian Americans Leading Together, agrees.
“Having racial diversity, in particular, has always led to better outcomes that are more representative of our communities, especially given the demographics in this country,” she said.
Two weeks after Scalia’s death, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass remarked to Al Sharpton that people want to see an “African-American voice” on the Supreme Court other than Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative.
“I think many people would like to see an African-American on the Supreme Court,” the California Democrat told him.
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