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A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans — a full 76%, including 54% percent of Democrats — want Biden to consider “all possible nominees” for his upcoming Supreme Court pick.
It seems clear that Americans still value character and experience over the color of a person’s skin, which might come as a surprise to President Biden, whose promise to fill an empty Supreme Court seat with a Black woman has fallen flat, even among his own base.
It was a promise he made during his campaign, and, with the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, he’s doubling down on the commitment.
At a White House event with the 83-year-old Breyer, Biden stated, “I’ve made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”
“Once I select a nominee, I will ask the Senate to move promptly on my choice,” the president added.
This may not go as smoothly as he anticipates, however.
The Senate is currently split 50-50, and there is some question as to whether or not, as Vice President, Kamala Harris can break a tie in the case of a Supreme Court nominee.
According to Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe: “While the vice president has the power to cast a tiebreaking vote to pass a bill, the Constitution does not give him the power to break ties when it comes to the Senate’s ‘Advice and Consent’ role in approving presidential appointments to the Supreme court.”
“You don’t have to take my word for it,” Tribe continued in a 2020 article for the Boston Globe, “Alexander Hamilton said the same thing way back in 1788, in ‘Federalist No. 69’: ‘In the national government, if the Senate should be divided, no appointment could be made.'”
And this could prove to be problematic for a president who has seen difficulty rallying the support of his party around his main agendas.
“Biden has unwisely limited his options by preemptively declaring during the 2020 campaign that his first Supreme Court nominee would be a Black woman,” writes the National Review. “In a stroke, he disqualified dozens of liberal and progressive jurists for no reason other than their race and gender. This is not a great start in selecting someone sworn to provide equal justice under the law.”
According to the ABC News/Ipsos poll, only 23% of Americans want to see Biden make his selection based on gender and race.
“Although the poll’s sample size was not large enough to break out results for Black people, only a little more than 1 in 4 nonwhite Americans (28%) wish for Biden to consider only Black women for the vacancy,” reports ABC News. “Democrats are more supportive of Biden’s vow (46%) than Americans as a whole, but still a majority of Democrats (54%) also prefer that Biden consider all possible nominees.”
Furthermore, a large amount of voters share the opinion that Supreme Court justices are partisan, a sad statement for a judicial system that is founded on the basis of impartiality.
The poll found that 43% of voters believe that justices rule “on the basis of their partisan political views” instead of “on the basis of the law.” Only 38% of those who responded believe SCOTUS acts on established law, rather than personal biases.
The poll, which was conducted between Jan. 28-29, featured a national sample of 510 adults and has a margin of error of 4.9 points.
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