'Representation matters': Discussing significance of next SCOTUS pick

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 23:54:51-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — President Joe Biden reaffirmed Thursday that he intends to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, a pledge he first made on the presidential campaign trail two years ago.

"The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity," Biden said at the White House, where Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced his plans to retire.

"And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court," Biden continued. "It's long overdue, in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment."

Amber Duke, the interim executive director of Kentucky's ACLU chapter, said the commitment was consistent with the Biden administration's broader vision.

"The president has made a centerpiece of his presidency working to diversify government institutions," Duke said.

Duke, a Black woman, said she was the first Black person on staff at the ACLU of Kentucky when she was hired about ten years ago.

"We all bring diverse perspectives," Duke said. "We all bring our different experiences. And I think that that's really important, especially when we're talking about our courts."

Reverend Dr. Jim Thurman, who recently stepped down as the president of Lexington's NAACP chapter, said he is glad that President Biden is keeping his commitment to nominate a Black woman.

"I'm looking forward to it from the historical aspect of it," Dr. Thurman said. "But again, that ambivalence is there."

Dr. Thurman said he had "mixed emotions," noting that he wished discussions surrounding potential Supreme Court nominees did not involve demographics.

"I'd like to get to the point that that doesn't have to be the case," Dr. Thurman said. "That there's parity at every level."

Duke said the unfortunate reality is that the history of racism has altered the makeup of our institutions.

"We have to start rectifying that," she said. "We have to make sure that our institutions more closely reflect what our society looks like. And you have to take a step somewhere."