While defending President Joe Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bungled the timeline for when the highest court in the country ceased to be occupied by “all white men.”
Schumer called Biden’s pledge to nominate someone to the Supreme Court based first and foremost on their race and sex “historic,” before pointing out that a small number of the 115 Supreme Court justices since 1789 have been non-white or women.
“Only five of them have ever been women, none until 1981,” Schumer said. “Only two have been African-American, but never, never has there been an African-American women [sic], who still make up barely 6% of the federal judiciary.”
Schumer then declared, incorrectly, that “Until 1981, this powerful body, the Supreme Court, was all White men.”
“Imagine. America wasn’t all White men in 1981, or ever. Under President Biden and this Senate majority, we’re taking historic steps to make the courts look more like the country they serve,” he continued.
.@SenSchumer: “Until 1981, this powerful body, the Supreme Court, was all White men. Imagine. America wasn’t all White men in 1981, or ever. Under President Biden and this Senate majority, we’re taking historic steps to make the courts look more like the country they serve.” pic.twitter.com/PrEjoLrmPH
— The Hill (@thehill) February 3, 2022
While Schumer clearly knows who former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is – he is the only other African-American man to serve on the court besides current Justice Clarence Thomas, as Schumer pointed out – he appears to have forgotten that Marshall was appointed to the court in 1967 – 14 years before Schumer’s stated claim that the Supreme Court ceased to be “all white men” in 1981, which was the year Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed.
Schumer’s claim that “President Biden and this Senate majority” are “taking historic steps to make the courts look more like the country they serve,” is also cynical, considering Senate Democrats’ history of blocking or attempting to block Republican nominees who were not white.
The most famous example occurred in 2003 and is known as “Memogate” because Democrats and the mainstream media focused on how a GOP staffer noticed that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee hadn’t secured their server from Republicans. The staffer exploited this and turned over documents to Republican groups.
Media coverage at the time focused on how unethically the documents were obtained, instead of on the explosive content. But the content of the memos showed Democrats openly saying they wanted to keep Judge Miguel Estrada off the D.C. Circuit Court because of his race, so that Republicans wouldn’t get the credit for nominating the first Latino man to the Supreme Court.
One of the leaked memos was from a staffer to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who wrote that liberal groups “identified Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.”
A spokesperson for Durbin later told Fox News that the memo was not an indication of racism against Estrada, just that he was “politically dangerous” because he could be viewed as an attractive candidate for Republicans to nominate to the Supreme Court later on.
Publicly, Democrats claimed they torpedoed Estrada’s nomination for a host of other reasons.
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