As Democrats cheer President Joe Biden’s apparent promise to nominate a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, they were not as "diversity" minded when former President Donald Trump nominated a Black woman to the federal bench in 2019, according to the Panama City News Herald.
When Trump nominated Ada E. Brown as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas in 2019, 13 Senate Democrats voted against her, and another five did not vote in her 80-13 confirmation.
All 52 Republicans supported Brown for the post, while 13 Democrats, including now Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hi., and nine others voted against the 2019 nomination.
Another five Democrats, including 2020 presidential contenders Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and now Vice President Kamala Harris joined Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in not voting either way during Brown’s confirmation in September 2019.
Brown was the child of a white mother and Black father who both also had Native American roots and is the first African American woman to serve on that federal court.
"On numerous occasions, while growing up, people assumed that when I was with my mother and/or my father that we were not all together," Brown said on her official United States Courts biography.
"It’s a strange feeling to have a hostess try to seat you separately when you’re out for lunch with your mom or dad. All in all, I think the experiences I had growing up helped make me more attuned to different cultures and shaped my passion for helping others."
She said she experienced the "ugliness of racism" firsthand and was denied service while dining in Georgia with her African American sorority sisters.
"There are still problems in the world, but things are definitely better than they used to be,” Brown said. "My dad had it much harder; he faced more overt racism and segregation than I have. I’m thankful for the all the changes that have taken place since my father’s experience growing up in the 1950s. Those changes have helped me get to where I am.”
In the 2020 campaign, Biden promised to appoint a Black woman to the highest court if given the opportunity and said Thursday that he intends on keeping that promise.
"I've made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court," Biden told Fox News. "It's long overdue, in my view."
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who also voted against Brown in 2019, applauded Biden for "adding diversity" to the high court in a post on Twitter.
"I thank Justice Stephen Breyer for his years of service on the Supreme Court. His opinions in support of the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights have helped Americans access the health care they need," her tweet said. "This is an opportunity to add diversity to our highest court and I look forward to considering President Biden’s nominee."
Another Democrat who ran for president in 2020, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hi., posted on Twitter that Biden’s promise is "a mistake."
“Biden’s mistake: He should not be choosing a Supreme Court justice based on the color of their skin or sex, but rather on their qualifications and commitment to uphold our Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans in that document which is the foundation of our nation,” her post read.
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