William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE HUGE BACKFIRE – OVERNIGHT:  President Biden's promise to restrict his choices for a Supreme Court justice to African-American women may be going down well with his base, but is exceedingly unpopular with the general public.  Anyone surprised?  From Fox: 

More than three-quarters (76%) of Americans want President Joe Biden to consider all potential nominees to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, according to a recent ABC News-Ipsos poll.

The poll comes after Biden said Thursday that he will announce his nominee before the end of February, and that the candidate will be a Black woman. Among Democrats, 54% supported considering all nominees regardless of race and gender. Just 23% of those polled wanted Biden to restrict his list of nominees to Black women.

The poll, which was conducted Jan. 28-29 with Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel among a random national sample of 510 adults, also found that 43% believe that the Supreme Court is partisan, and that justices rule "on the basis of their partisan political views."

Other finding from the poll were unflattering toward the president, who earned low approval numbers on issues ranging from inflation — with 69% disapproving — to surging crime and gun violence. Just 1% of those polled said the state of the economy is "excellent."

Biden's Supreme Court announcement follows through on a pledge he made during the 2020 campaign. When his campaign was faltering during the 2020 Democratic primary in South Carolina, Biden reportedly told Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., he would publicly promise to appoint a Black woman to the high court in exchange for the House majority whip's endorsement.

Biden's decision has been criticized by those who claim he is allowing identity politics to seep into the Supreme Court. Last week, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson told WMAL that "to create that kind of situation in the highest court in the land is really abominable, and very detrimental to our freedoms."

COMMENT:  Biden rules with the intellect and sensitivity of a big-city political machine.  Every move is a political deal, every appointment pays off a debt.  But restricting a Supreme Court appointment on the basis of race or gender is a bridge too far.  Despite its image being battered by controversy, the Supreme Court is still seen by most Americans as a revered if imperfect institution.  Americans would like to think that appointments to the Court are noble acts.  They see, though, that nobility is nowhere in sight.

January 30,  2022