During one of the 2020 Democratic debates, then-candidate Joe Biden vowed that if a vacancy opened up on the United States Supreme Court, he'd fill it with a Black woman.
"I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented."
He made the promise again on a campaign stop in South Carolina.
This past week, news broke that the Court's oldest Justice—the liberal-leaning Stephen Bryer—would be retiring in six months after nearly 30 years on the bench. Biden once again reiterated his promise to nominate the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court.
Instantly, a parade of intellectually dishonest pundits proclaimed that Biden would be choosing a Supreme Court Justice based "solely" on race and gender, ignoring the countless Black women judges qualified to serve on the court and the centuries in which only white men were considered for the positions.
Fortunately, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is known for putting current developments into sharper context by looking toward history—something she did in her Wednesday night broadcast in response to this latest conservative hysteria.
In making her case, Maddow pointed to one of the GOP's favorite President before Trump: Ronald Reagan.
On the campaign trail in 1979, the GOP had removed its support for the Equal Rights Amendment from its party platform, equipping Democrats with a vulnerability on women's rights they could exploit.
Looking to secure women voters, Reagan later announced:
“I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can possibly find. … It is time for a woman to sit among the highest jurists.”
As Maddow pointed out:
"Of course he did win the presidency and he did go on to nominate the nation's first Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor."
Just as there had never been a woman on the court, whose rulings can immediately affect the lives of every American in the United States, there's never been a Black woman on the bench.
But you don't have to look back as far as Reagan to find a President establishing pre-qualifications for a Supreme Court nomination. As recently as 2020, in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Trump himself vowed that he would nominate a woman to replace her—one of the few campaign promises he kept.
Maddow wasn't the only one to point this out.
Wonder what changed.