After news broke of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, the National Organization for Women released a statement: “NOW will hold [President Joe Biden] to his promise to appoint a Black woman to SCOTUS, and ensure that she will hold intersectional feminist values.”
Biden tweeted to confirm that he will limit the pool of candidates he considers for the Supreme Court, saying, “The person I nominate to replace Justice Breyer will be someone with extraordinary qualifications. Character, experience, and integrity. And they will be the first Black woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”
Biden made this promise while campaigning for president.
The president’s approach to selecting leaders comes as no surprise. Biden committed to select a woman as his running mate before he was the Democratic nominee for president. He made his decision before he had reviewed the candidates to decide who would be best for our country. Ultimately, Biden made good on his pledge by selecting now-Vice President Kamala Harris.
The problem then as now is that Biden should be picking the best person for the job, not the best woman. Women want equality of opportunity. Women achieve equality when they succeed based on merit, not because a man decides a woman should have the job.
I am disappointed in modern feminist women’s groups like NOW. The Women’s March released a similar statement to NOW’s: “And while there are many qualified candidates who are ready for the job, we are eager to see President Biden make good on his promise to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.” The statement continued by calling for the court to be expanded. Its tweet on the matter further added “progressive” to the list.
Biden’s approach sends the wrong message. Limiting the pool undercuts women, including the woman who is selected. Women can and do compete in the legal field with men. Biden should let them.