Black Woman Promise Nearly Forgotten

Former vice president Joe Biden addresses supporters as Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) looks on at a South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, S.C., February 29, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

If Bob Woodward’s reporting is correct, Joe Biden almost forgot the promise that has limited his options for the next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court:

During the primary debate on Feb. 25, 2020, [Rep. Jim] Clyburn watched Biden whiff on numerous chances to bring up the Supreme Court pledge.

During a break, he pulled Biden aside: “Man, there have been a couple instances up there tonight where you could have mentioned having a Black woman on the Supreme Court. You can’t leave the stage without doing that. You just got to do that.” Of course, Biden said, you got it.

In his final answer, Biden hit the mark. “Everyone should be represented. Everyone,” he said. “I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation.” The crowd roared. Clyburn nodded.

Now, just imagine if Biden had said, “Everyone should be represented. There are many black women in this country who are qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and there is an excellent chance I will select a black woman if I am elected president. But my choice will always be the individual I think is most qualified, regardless of race, creed or color,” or something like that.

Clyburn may have wanted Biden to make that promise, but most Americans disagree. A new ABC News poll finds, “just over three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) want Biden to consider ‘all possible nominees.’ Just 23 percent want him to automatically follow through on his history-making commitment that the White House seems keen on seeing through.”

Not only would Biden be in much better shape right now; the woman he nominates would be in much better shape right now.