No More Excuses: Six Reasons Why Now is the Time for a Black Woman on the Supreme Court

Supreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Supreme Court in Washington DC with Blue Sky background
Supreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Supreme Court in Washington DC with Blue Sky background

Every once in a great while, there are rare moments when history and opportunity collide. This is one of those moments. The time is now to appoint a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. Not only because such an appointment is frankly long overdue, but also practically speaking, it just plain makes good political sense.

Here's why:

1. Appointing a Black woman in the face of Republican obstruction would put the Grand Old Party in a serious political bind. The optics of failing to even consider a Black woman nominee would highlight notions around Republican hostility on issues of both race and gender at an especially sensitive moment. The party's recent back-peddling from Donald Trump's bout of amnesia on endorsements from David Duke and other white supremacists and white supremacy organizations is still fresh in the public psyche. Having to Republicansplain, once again, that they're "not the real racists" while a bunch of old, rich, white men simultaneously openly defy, disrespect, and deny a Black woman from being even considered for the post, would be a Democratic talking point just waiting to happen.

2. It's never a good idea to piss off Black women. Ask Mitch McConnell how well a similar stall tactic turned out when Republicans attempted to scuttle the appointment of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The answer is, not too well for them. In fact, their stall tactics inspired large groups of Black women to show up time and time again in McConnell's office and throughout the Halls of Congress calling their bluff. Under the intense media glare that followed, their obstructionist approach was begrudgingly relented, resulting in Lynch's eventual approval for Attorney General of the United States.

3. Democrats need Black women for a presidential victory. In the past two presidential elections, Black women have led the nation in voter turn-out and no group voted for President Obama at higher rates than did this key constituency. To see Black women, looked over not just once, but twice, for this appointment by this president would be no small disappointment. Not to mention the fact that to protect an Obama legacy from Republican candidates who have each vowed to undo everything he's accomplished during his eight years in office, Black women specifically need to be there for Hillary to the same degree that they were there in the two previous elections for President Obama.

4. This Could be the cure for Clinton's turn-out problem. Let's face it, though overall the Clinton campaign has received greater support from the African American community than has Bernie Sanders, she's just not getting the excitement or turn-out levels that was critical to Obama's electoral success. If, as the delegate math suggests, Sec. Clinton eventually receives the nod as the Party appointee, she will need a level of excitement connected to her candidacy that at least matches the enthusiasm that's currently associated with the Republican race. The optics of having a group of elite white men potentially fail to consider a Black woman Supreme Court nominee would energize the most critical constituency within the Democratic base in ways that Hillary's candidacy alone has thus far been incapable of doing.

5. Not only would this be a historic appointment, it's one that's uniquely positioned for the key issues of the day. Having a Black woman on the Supreme Court now would not just fill a void that's existed for centuries, it would do so at precisely a time when both racial justice and gender rights are increasingly under attack throughout the nation. Given this broader political context, the distinct perspectives a Black woman brings would be a key asset to the Bench as it considers those issues critical to the future of America.

6. Don't believe the hype. There is no shortage of overly qualified Black women capable of filling this seat today. Perhaps the most infuriating notion to come out of discussions surrounding a potential Black women nominee is the degree to which the issue of qualifications is thrown up as a false-sticking point. Most don't know, for example, that 64 Justices who have served on the Supreme Court did so without going to law school. And now that Harvard Law School graduate and U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's name is in the mix, her qualifications are suddenly being questioned because she serves as a District Court Judge and not as a Judge at the Appellate level. Really? Let's get real for a moment. President Obama's most recent appointee, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan served exactly zero days as a judge at any level prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court. We've seen these games before. The rules somehow suddenly shift when a Black woman is thrown into the mix. It's time for the "qualifications" slight of hand to end.

No more excuses.

No more delays.

It's time for a Black woman on the Supreme Court.

Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever is the CEO of Incite Unlimited, a Washington, DC-based boutique consulting firm and the Founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women. She appears regularly on TV One's NewsOne Now with Roland Martin and is the Author of the soon-to-be-released book, How Exceptional Black Women Lead.