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3 Feb, 2022 22:04

Senator forgets first black SCOTUS justice in pro-diversity speech

The top Democrat overlooked Thurgood Marshall in his rush to praise Biden’s court pick
Senator forgets first black SCOTUS justice in pro-diversity speech

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) declared that, until 1981, the Supreme Court was all white men, as he delivered a speech on Thursday in support of Biden’s pledge to nominate a black female justice to the court.

However, in his rush to anoint the president as an agent of racial reckoning, the Democrat left out Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black man to sit on the Supreme Court. Marshall was appointed to the bench in 1967 and served until 1991.

Social media was quick to pounce on the senator, although as many users blamed his speechwriters as blamed Schumer for the oversight. Schumer has been in Congress since 1981 and a senator since 1999, meaning his political career overlapped considerably with Marshall’s tenure on the court.

Schumer eventually apologized for “misspeaking” in his unexpected deletion of Marshall from history, declaring via tweet that, “Of course I remember the dedication and legal excellence that Thurgood Marshall brought to the Supreme Court.” 

1981 was the year Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court, while Marshall retired in 1991 to be replaced by Justice Clarence Thomas, the second black man to sit on the court.

Biden pledged on the campaign trail that should a Supreme Court vacancy present itself, he would fill it with a black female judge. While the promise was met with little opposition at the time, a recent poll conducted after sitting Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement suggested more than three-quarters of Americans would prefer Biden reviewed “all possible nominees” rather than arbitrarily limiting his picks by skin color and sex.

Among those who have spoken out against Biden basing his pick on identity politics is former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. The Democrat pointed out that Biden used the same criteria in selecting his vice president only to end up with Kamala Harris, who is disliked by a majority of the American people.