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- Susan Collins said it might be hard for Republicans to reject a Black, female Supreme Court nominee.
- She acknowledged that Democrats “have had some success” with painting the GOP as “anti-Black.”
- Collins is one of few Republican senators who may vote in favor of Biden’s nominee.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said this week that it might be difficult for Republicans to reject a Black, female Supreme Court nominee because of the political implications.
“The idea that race and gender should be the No. 1 and No. 2 criteria is not as it should be,” Collins told The New York Times. “On the other hand, there are many qualified Black women for this post and given that Democrats, regrettably, have had some success in trying to paint Republicans as anti-Black, it may make it more difficult to reject a Black jurist.”
Collins is one of few Republicans who could vote in favor of Biden’s nominee. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also recently told Politico he supports President Joe Biden’s decision to tap a Black woman for the Supreme Court.
But other Republicans, like Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have vehemently opposed it and characterized Biden’s pledge as “offensive.”
“The fact that he’s willing to make a promise at the outset, that it must be a Black woman, I got to say that’s offensive,” Cruz recently said on his podcast. He also went on to say that Biden’s Supreme Court pick “is actually an insult to Black women,” despite the fact that Biden’s hasn’t nominated anyone yet.
The president is currently weighing who to tap as a successor to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his upcoming retirement from the bench last week.
Biden pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign that he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court and has had record success in getting his judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate.
In his first year in office, he’s had 40 nominees confirmed to the federal bench. That’s more than any president since Ronald Reagan: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each got 23 appointments their first year, Barack Obama secured 13, and Donald Trump got 19.
Biden has also had little trouble achieving his goals of diversfying the federal judiciary. According to a recent report from the Alliance for Justice, before Biden took office, women of color made up 20% of the US population but just 4% of sitting federal judges.
Almost half of Biden’s nominees and more than half of all his women nominees are women of color, the report said.
The media and public have speculated at length about who Biden might nominate for the Supreme Court, and although the White House hasn’t dropped any hints, some have stood out as being on the shortlist.
The top two contenders are Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.
Jackson, 51, is widely seen as the frontrunner for the nomination. She previously clerked for Breyer, and Collins, Graham, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski all voted to confirm to the DC appeals court, which is considered to be the second most powerful court in the country.