White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki condemned Republican hypocrisy about President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate a Black women to serve on the Supreme Court, debunking the allegations of "reverse racism" many of Biden's critics have made even before a prospective nominee has been named.
Psaki issued her remarks after Bloomberg White House correspondent Jennifer Epstein asked her to address Republican accusations of "reverse racism" and "virtue signaling" on the part of Biden.
You can hear what Psaki said in the video below.
During his campaign, then-candidate Biden promised he would nominate a Black woman in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, a decision that would reshape the court's liberal wing and highlight the lack of diversified voices on the nation's higher federal courts.
That promise is now front and center with Breyer's impending retirement, thanks to a short list of contenders that includes Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Leondra R. Kruger, who sits on the California Supreme Court.
When asked how the President would respond to people who've said he's set "inappropriate" prerequisites for who he will nominate, Psaki noted that there has not been a single Black woman nominated in the entire history of the Supreme Court:
"Well, first, we’d say that the fact that no Black woman has been nominated shows a deficiency of the past selection processes, not a lack of qualified candidates to be nominated to the Supreme Court.”
She then addressed allegations of "reverse racism" by citing a quote from former President Ronald Reagan, who in 1981 nominated former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:
“I’d also note — I’ve heard that some conservatives may be fans of President Reagan and when he — former President Reagan — and when he nominated [former Supreme Court Justice] Sandra Day O’Connor he said, quote, ‘Judge O’Connor’s confirmation symbolizes the richness of opportunity that still abides in America — opportunity that permits persons of any sex, age, or [any] race, from every section and every walk of life, to aspire and achieve in a manner never before even dreamed about in human history.'”
Psaki then pointed to Biden's record of nominating Black women to circuit and appelate courts, stressing that it is not discriminatory to choose a qualified candidate from a background underrepresented in their field:
"I’d also note, if you look at the President’s own record, not only has he nominated the most, the highest number of Black women to serve on the circuit court and the appellate court, but he has also nominated, across the board, the highest level of Ivy League nominees, right?"
"He has nominated a broad sway of extremely qualified, experienced, and credential nominees — credentialed nominees, and done that by also making them incredibly diverse. And so the President’s view is that it is long past time to have a Black woman on the Supreme Court, and that it, again, reflects challenges or deficiencies in the past processes.”
Many have praised Psaki for her remarks and criticized the bad faith arguments from conservatives.
Psaki's remarks come as Republicans continue to accuse Biden of politicizing the Supreme Court.
Last week, Fox News personality Tomi Lahren suggested that Biden should not nominate a Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, saying Biden is simply trying to "placate" what she referred to as "the radical element" within the Democratic Party.
Lahren reiterated the Fox News consensus that Biden's promise to nominate a Black woman to the court is an indication of what conservative critics have claimed is a liberal obsession with identity politics.
She went on to suggest that nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court would backfire, given low opinions of Vice President Kamala Harris's performance.
"We saw how well that worked out with Kamala Harris but here's to hoping that he has a better choice in mind for this position," she said at the time, later taking to Twitter to accuse Biden of basing his decision "solely on race, gender and identity politics."
Shortly afterward, Geraldo Rivera, another Fox News stalwart, claimed that Biden's announcement that he would nominate a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court would be "affirmative action."