Psaki Uses Whataboutism To Justify Biden’s Pledge To Only Consider A Black Woman For SCOTUS

Psaki Uses Whataboutism To Justify Biden’s Pledge To Only Consider A Black Woman For SCOTUS

During Thursday’s briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by a reporter about President Joe Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court as Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his upcoming retirement.

After noting that some conservative commentators are calling Biden’s pledge a kind of “reverse racism” and “virtue signaling,” the reporter asked: “What do you say to people who are saying that that is, you know, an inappropriate way to set out prerequisites for who he’s going to choose?”

Psaki responded, first saying that a black woman having never been nominated “shows a deficiency of the past selection processes.”

She then pivoted to whataboutism, pointing to President Ronald Reagan’s promise to nominate a woman to the Supreme Court in 1980, quoting from his September 1981 statement upon the Senate confirmation of Sandra Day O’Connor:

…when he nominated Sandra Day O’Connor he said, “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.”

Lastly, Psaki claimed that Biden has nominated “the highest number of black women to serve on the circuit court and the appellate court,” and that “he has also nominated … the highest level of Ivy League nominees.”

“He has nominated a broad sway of extremely qualified, experienced, and … credentialed nominees, and done that by also making them incredibly diverse,” Psaki concluded.

Regarding the whataboutism, legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote in a recent op-ed that the comparison between Reagan and Biden isn’t even apt:

Various commentators insisted that Biden did exactly what Reagan did in 1980 when he pledged to appoint a woman to the Court. The comparison, however, shows the opposite. Reagan did not exclude anyone other than women in being considered while making clear that he wanted to give one of his vacancies to a female candidate.

Turley added: “Reagan never pledged to only consider women and in fact considered non-female candidates. One of the leading contenders was considered Judge Lawrence Pierce, an African American trial court judge.”

TRANSCRIPT:

REPORTER: Just to put a little bit [of a] finer point on what you just got to at the end of that — you know, there have already been conservative commentators talking a bit about why a black woman that’s — to commit to that is reverse racism or some kind of signaling — virtue signaling or something like that. What do you say to people who are saying that that is, you know, an inappropriate way to set out prerequisites for who he’s going to [choose]?

PSAKI: 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.

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 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.”

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 — he has qual- — 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.

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