A plurality of Americans do not believe race and gender should be the main factors in choosing a Supreme Court justice, according to a new survey.
The criteria were considered "not important" by 47.3% to 42.7%, I&I/TIPP poll results released Monday found. Of that larger percentage, 29.6% said they were "not at all important" — the largest response of all — and another 17.7% said it was "not very important."
The question was asked of 1,355 adults between Feb. 2-4, after President Joe Biden said he would nominate a Black woman to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
Breyer, 83, is the oldest member of the Supreme Court and is also the senior member of the court's liberal wing. He announced in late January that he planned to retire at the end of the current term.
The I&I/TIPP poll asked the question: How important is it that Biden select a Black woman for the Supreme Court?
Of the respondents who did think choosing a Black woman was important, just 20.6% said it was "very important" and 22.1% said it was "somewhat important."
So, by a 3-to-2 margin, potential voters said it was "not at all" important to select a Black woman for the high court versus those who said it was "very important," TIPP insights said.
Demographics and political affiliation certainly defined much of the survey results.
Among white respondents, only 33% said having a Black woman was important. A strong majority of 56% said it was not important.
Both Blacks and Hispanics, however, disagreed. As a combined group, 60% said making gender and race central to the selection process was important. A total of 32% said it wasn't important, I&I/TIPP found.
Solid majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (54%) said that selecting a Black female wasn't important, while 17% of those in the GOP and 34% of independents said it was.
A total of 68% of Democrats said naming a Black woman to the court was important, and 26% believed it shouldn't be important.
Women's responses offered interesting results. Single women, by 47% to 40%, felt that the sex and race of the next court appointee was important. Married women, though, by 50% to 37%, said it wasn't important.
In terms of age, older Americans were less inclined to say that gender and race were important in choosing Breyer’s replacement:
- Ages 18-24 — 55% think naming a Black woman to the court is important, and 37% think it isn't.
- Ages 25-44 — 47% think naming a Black woman to the court is important, and 40% think it isn't.
- Ages 45-64 — 36% think naming a Black woman to the court is important, and 53% think it isn't.
- Over 65 — 39% think naming a Black woman to the court is important, and 55% think it isn't.
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