Biden Once Used Senate Filibuster to Block Black Female Judge From Supreme Court

Biden Once Used Senate Filibuster to Block Black Female Judge From Supreme Court Biden Once Used Senate Filibuster to Block Black Female Judge From Supreme Court May 24, 2005. Brown. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 02 February 2022 12:29 PM

President Joe Biden had a chance once to get a Black woman onto the Supreme Court, but he filibustered a vote twice during former President George W. Bush's administration to block Janice Rogers Brown from being seated, reports The Washington Examiner.

Biden was ideologically opposed to Brown's conservative writings on the subjects of affirmative action and abortion.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted Monday that Biden should "make amends" and nominate 72-year-old Brown, who retired from the D.C. Circuit in August 2017.

"If he wants to unite the country, Biden should nominate Janice Rogers Brown. Committed constitutionalist who is also an African-American woman," the senator wrote.

During the summer of 2005, a month into Brown's tenure on the D.C. Circuit, she was also considered as a possible nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, but Samuel Alito was chosen instead. She would have been the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Joe Biden stated at the time that if Bush chose Brown to replace O'Connor, the Democrats would filibuster her nomination, stating that circuit court judges, unlike Supreme Court justices, "don't get to make new law."

Democrats also filibustered Bush’s 2001 nomination of Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit. Estrada, a conservative, would have been the first Latino appointed to that bench but rescinded his name from consideration after being blocked for two consecutive years.

The president has become increasingly critical of the Senate filibuster rule, calling it a relic of Jim Crow segregation laws.

But Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) noted the hypocrisy of Democratic senators calling for eliminating the legislative filibuster just a few years after adamantly calling for the preservation of the filibuster — when Republicans held a majority in the Senate.
Biden said he would name his Black female Supreme Court pick to replace Stephen Breyer by the end of February. So far, South Carolina federal Judge J. Michelle Childs is under consideration.

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