We previously discussed the ABC poll showing that 76 percent of Americans opposed President Joe Biden’s pledge only to consider black women for the seat being vacated by Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. The pledge was unnecessary as it was unprecedented as a categorical exclusion of any candidates on the basis of their race and gender. While many in the media and academia have attacked those raising concerns over such a threshold exclusion, the public continues to oppose the pledge according to a new poll. Only 36 percent stated that they thought that the pledge was “a good idea.” The poll found that 55 percent believe that nominating a Black woman is either “not very” important (19 percent) or “not at all” (36 percent) important to them. Only 23 percent said it was very important as a criteria.The poll reflected that most citizens are uncomfortable with such threshold exclusions as opposed to diversity as an element to be balanced. One of the more interesting questions in the poll was whether “the best possible candidate should be chosen regardless of race, gender or sexuality” or whether “the best possible Supreme Court should include qualified justices with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.” Almost half (49 percent) of those polled did not want race, gender or other criteria to be weighed in the selection. Some 41 percent supported the inclusion of such issues as an element in the selection of a nominee. That is just 5 percent more than the core 36 percent who thought it was a good idea to exclude candidates on the basis of race or gender.
As I wrote previously, past presidents have publicly sought to diversify the Court and stated that they wanted to select a woman or an African American. However, despite statements in the media to the contrary, all of these presidents considered a diverse list of candidates and their “short lists” included people of different races and genders.