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31 Jan, 2022 15:00

Americans don’t want Biden focused on race or gender of Supreme Court nominee – poll

Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court has been met with accusations of politicization
Americans don’t want Biden focused on race or gender of Supreme Court nominee – poll

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll has found a majority of Americans disapprove of President Joe Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, with most saying they want him to consider “all possible nominees.” 

The survey, conducted days after Justice Stephen G. Breyer announced his retirement, found 76% of respondents would prefer Biden reviewed “all possible nominees,” rather than keep to his promise to find the most qualified black woman – a pledge he made during the 2020 presidential election campaign.

If Biden makes good on his promise, it would mark the first time a black woman had presided over the Supreme Court. However, Americans seem less focused on the nominee’s race than their president, with only 23% saying they want him to stick to his pledge. Biden recommitted to it during a recent event honoring Breyer.

“It’s long overdue, in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment,” he said. 

Even among Democrats, a majority believe Biden should consider all possible nominees without narrowing his scope. Over half say they want him to consider all nominees, while 46% approve of his mission to place the first black female judge in the position. 

Biden’s opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court judge follows former President Donald Trump’s nominations of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – appointments that upset liberal activists concerned that too many conservative choices were headed to the Supreme Court. The US’ highest jurisdiction is currently split 6-3, with conservative judges in the majority.

While judges are supposed to preside over cases without political bias, many believe they rule “on the basis of their partisan political views,” according to the new poll. Nearly half of all respondents believe political views fuel judges’ decisions, while fewer than 40% believe they rule strictly “on the basis of law.”