Rep. Jim Clyburn says it is more important to have a Black female Supreme Court justice than a VP

During an interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said that while having a Black woman as vice president would be a “plus,” he thinks it’s even more important that one be nominated to serve on the highest court in the land.

“The V.P. is good on style, but, on substance, give me an African American woman on the Supreme Court. That’s where we determine how our democracy will be preserved,” Clyburn said.

“I long for an African American woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court,” he added. “It’s a shame that we have had three women to sit on the United States Supreme Court, and no one has ever given the kind of consideration that is due to an African American woman.”

Clyburn’s concerns

During the interview, Clyburn also lamented that in his belief, the Supreme Court has “neutered” the 1965 Voting Rights Act with several recent decisions.

As NPR reported, in April, the court refused to allow an extension of the time window in which Wisconsin could receive absentee ballots for the state’s primary, which had the effect of sending many voters to the polls in person, right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no reported spike in cases stemming from that election, which some would suggest is strong evidence that the presidential election in November can be safely held without widespread mail-in voting, contrary to the opinion of many Democrats.

After rejecting a few other absentee ballot-related cases, the court upheld a lower court’s order that would prevent hundreds of thousands of convicted Florida felons who have served their sentences from being allowed to vote because they have unpaid fines related to the adjudication of their cases, as The Washington Post reported.

High stakes choice

Clyburn also broached the topic of the 2020 election in an interview with MSNBC on Friday. “Joe Biden is a guy full of compassion. He has much more compassion than he exhibits passion,” Clyburn said. “So he needs a running mate with a lot of passion to connect to voters.”

The trouble is that it remains unclear whether there are any Black females in the running for the No. 2 spot who could infuse that much-needed energy. After saying he would choose a running mate the first week of August, Biden operatives have indicated that he may not announce his choice until just before the Democratic National Convention in two weeks, as USA Today reported.

A recent USA Today/Suffolk poll found that 72% of Democrats think Biden should choose a Black female running mate.

In the past, Biden has also said that his running mate needs to be equipped and ready to be president “on day one,” likely a reference to his advanced age and perhaps a subtle acknowledgment that his mental acuity may be failing.

Given his repeated emphasis on catering to identity politics with regard to his vice presidential pick, it seems all but certain Biden will select a woman of color for the role — and while Rep. Clyburn might prefer the focus be placed on the Supreme Court for such a move, chances are slim he will register much of a protest.

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