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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

“You’re Welcome:” Biden’s Announcement on the Search for a SCOTUS Nominee

The first thing I felt the moment I heard about President Biden’s decision to select a Black woman as his next Supreme Court nominee was a wave of irritation. “Why would he say that?” and “Why is he doing this again?” were the first questions that popped into my head. Biden had received a stream of valid criticism following a similar announcement towards his selection of a vice presidential running mate, and I found myself a bit stunned that he was repeating a mistake that someone wiser would’ve made the concerted effort to avoid. In contrast to what I’m sure Biden intended, I was upset to hear the announcement. I felt a great deal of disappointment, and I felt disrespected on behalf of the future nominee.

Biden’s need to assert that the nominee will be “extremely” and “the most” qualified candidate does a great disservice to them. I understand what Biden is trying to do here, I really do. The nomination and confirmation of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States should be a moment of pride and adulation, not only for Black women, but for the nation itself, for how far we’ve come, and in some sense it will be. However, with Biden’s announcement, that moment will always be tainted. The qualifications and legacy of the nominee will always be worth questioning. The argument will always be: “She was Biden’s top pick amongst Black women candidates, but not amongst all candidates.” They’ll say: “She only got the position because she’s a Black woman.” 

Biden’s announcement has essentially minimized and perhaps erased the role of any nominee’s qualifications in what will be the perpetuated narrative of their legacy. Their qualifications will be boiled down to being the best of those lucky enough to be born the correct race and sex in the current pool of candidates. This moment is no longer a moment to be proud of as a nation. We can never truly be proud of this moment as a true representation of progress. Biden’s nominee will not have earned the nomination and the potential confirmation despite the color of their skin and their sex at birth, but instead it will have been earned exclusively because of them, because what he implies with his announcement is that if selecting a Black woman were not the explicit goal, one would not be worth selecting. They do not have the qualifications for the opportunity, without his consideration and generosity, he implicitly argues.

Because of that, Biden’s announcement makes what should be a monumental moment for the nominee and the progress of this nation a self-serving moment. Black women should thank and celebrate him for providing them this opportunity, the argument being they haven’t earned it beyond his explicit attention, and the nation should thank and applaud him for single-handedly moving us forward. Despite what Biden may want us to believe, or believe himself, with his tone-deaf announcement he’s centered this moment on himself and himself alone. A white man has once again attributed the success of a Black woman to himself. It’s as good a proof as any that the white and male savior complex is alive and well; and unfortunately present in our Head of State, the person recognized as holding the most powerful office in the world. 

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