Sojourner's Place

will we finally get an african-american on the supreme court?  

Posted by SjP in ,

It's on now! The real test is about to begin!

The Associated Press is reporting that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire! Oh snap! Got a feeling that its about to get ugly!

The 69 year old Souter, has not officially announced his retirement, but an unnamed source (don't you just love these unnamed sources) indicate that the Justice intends to retire in June. And it is quite possible that Justices Ginsburg (76) and John Paul Stevens (89) may also announce their retirements between now and 2012. All three, lean to the left in their court votes and decisions.

If you recall, Justice Ginsburg recently put her bid in for the appointment of another woman to the all but one "boys bench club". So, if the President follows here advise, one of the following women may be joining her on the bench: Solicitor General Elena Kagan, U.S. Appeals Court Judges Sonya Sotomayor, Kim McLane Wardlaw, Sandra Lea Lynch and Diane Pamela Wood; and Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Men mentioned as potential nominees include: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein and U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of Chicago.

I don't know, but just looking at the list, I'm putting my money on Leah Ward Sears since there are no African-American women on the court at this time. Come to think of it, some might say that there are NO African-Americans on the court not.

What do you think?

Obliged to you for hearing me,
and now old SjP ain't got nothin' more to say...
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This entry was posted at Friday, May 01, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

16 sojourners hollin' back

Could this be true? Do we have the potential to have the second African America on the Supreme Court. What about an African American woman? Now wouldn't that be fitting tribute to Sojourner Truth?

May 1, 2009 at 8:24 AM

me, myself, i'd prefer a choice be based on ability rather than on color.

May 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM


It is going to be interesting to see what happens. It seems that thtere is high hopes in the Latino community for their first judge.

I almost forgot about Uncle Clarence...which is not difficult to do. But since he isn't really down with us, it would be like our first appointment.

Why is it that people always want us to forget about our own? We have perfectly capable judges sitting on the bench who are qualified to fill the position on the SC.

May 1, 2009 at 4:23 PM

"it would be like our first appointment"

and who was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice on Oct. 2, 1967 and remained there for 24 years?

"We have perfectly capable judges sitting on the bench who are qualified..."

and that is true for the other races also, deb, isn't it?

May 1, 2009 at 7:11 PM

@ PJ,

I suspect that the next nominee will in fact be a woman. But, if history has taught us anything about our new POTUS it has taught use not to second guess him. So it will be very interesting. But, I'm certainly hoping for Ward.

@ The Griper,

I can only assume here that anyone on the POTUS's short list of considerations will all be well qualified for the court. I think it important that our justices be "good thinkers". The fact that there are people of color who are possibly on his short list is a good thing. As our court should be representative of the population it serves.

I'm quite sure that Deb did not forget that Thurgood Marshall was the first AA appointment to the SC. But, isn't it interesting that it took over 190 year for the first appointment and 42 years after his appointment that there remains only 1 AA on the court.

And yes, there are many qualified for a seat on the court from all races. As a result, making sure that there is a diversity of thought, experience as well as race and gender are extremely important considerations as we strive to become a "more perfect union".

@ Twin,

While I'm hoping for Ward, it is more than probable that the appointment will be from the Latino community - which is probably fitting.

Its not hard to forget about Clarence. A wasted seat.


May 2, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Sistah SJP, I hope so. We have so many "firsts" we have celebrated in this century. I hope not only because of "color" but also because of that person's ability to effectively lead our Judicial System.

I think as "pjazzypar" says it would indeed be a fitting honor to some called, "Sojourner Truth."


May 2, 2009 at 1:57 PM

"As our court should be representative of the population it serves."

1. based on what Constitutional principle?

2. if you are right then Obama should not nominate a black jurist. the black population is already represented accordingly. there is more than just black and white in this nation and they haven't been represented yet by your standard as declared here.

3. there aren't enough seats on the SC to be representrative of this nation by your standard.

"...As a result, making sure that there is a diversity of thought..."

diversity of thought belongs in the Legislative or the Executive branch of our government not in the Judicial branch. Diversity of thought on the Supreme Court guarantees that it won't be abided by thus negating any value it has in assuring that our government does not abuse the rights of the states and people.

May 2, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Ahhh Griper, you sound like you have no issues with the Court being all white men. C'mon now. I know you don't believe that.

Our government is one that is suppose to be of the people for the people and by the people. The people are not all the same race or gender. Let us not forget the words the made it necessary for a constitution in the first place: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I do believe that Obama will most likely nominate the first Latino to the SC. And yes, Thomas is certainly Black - but, whether he "represents" the Black population is certainly suspect at best.

No, don't agree with you on the diversity of thought being purely a function of the legislature. They always tend to screw things up and the SC has to come back and rule their laws unconstitutional. Besides, the lack of diversity of thought in an historical sense coming from the SC upheld slavery, segregation, discrimination and other parts of our history that we don't like to talk about.

But, and this is pretty scarey, we basically agree. No one wants an SC appointment based solely on the race or gender of the individual. A perfect example of this is in fact Clarence Thomas. IMO, SC justices have a very difficult task - that being trying to determine the original the writers of the constitution and staying out of politics. But, all too often their politics tend to come into question when making a decision. (Remember they determined who would be president in 2004). We see this now as we hear the discriptors of those who may be considered. Left, right, leaning to left, leaning to right, and so on.

When it is all said and done, what is important to me is that whoever is selected is a good and open thinker. That he or she will make decisions that are based on common and righteous sense.

Afterall the Constitution is in fact a document illustrative of diversity of thought. Therefore, it is only fitting that those charged with its protection and intrepretaton be as diverse.

May 2, 2009 at 5:16 PM

"but, whether he "represents" the Black population is certainly suspect at best."

oh, i see, diversity of thought on the Supreme Court but unity of thought to represent the people.

you judge the white members as representing the white class by the color of their skin but judge your own by how united he is in thought to the black community.

if diversity of thought is your goal then start at home. recognize those of your race with different thoughts from yours as one of your own just as i have to.

remember this, if there wasn't such a diversity of thought or was as united in their thoughts as you'd like to believe the white race is, Obama would never have gotten elected.

stop using a double standard for judgment of people. if you are going to judge others by their color then judge everyone by it. if you are going to judge by thought then do so for eveyone. but include yourself too. don't judge one man one way and another man another way.

me, i'd rather judge by ability regardless of color so that i may fulfill Dr. King's dream and act as and treat others as Mr. Frederick Douglas declared.

May 2, 2009 at 8:49 PM

@ Griper,

I really don’t even know where or even how to begin to respond to your last comment. You have taken this discussion to a place unintended. It is pretty clear to me, that you unfortunately do not get it.

But, your response is a familiar retort that leaves me shaking my head while saying “typical”. Why is it that when people of color – and particularly African-Americans – espouse a desire to see a person of color appointed to, elected to, or put in a position of authority or power – that that desire is turned on its head with the implication that we are being racist? Being pro-Black is NOT being anti-White.
The last time I checked, I have been African American all of my life. Therefore, I know first hand about the diversity of thought within the Black community - and particularly within the political realm. I grew up in an ALL Black community with a Black mayor, Black trustees, other elected Black officials. In my very own father was one of these elected officials. So, there is no need to “take me to school” about the nuances of my community. And I'm almost offended by your comment for me to "start at home". If you really knew me better you would know that I already did!

I judge everyone based on 3 standards. Those standards being, regardless of color, whether or not they are honest, consistent, and fair. I expect no more and no less from anyone and that certainly includes the court. If the court was all Black, all white, all women, all conservative, all liberal, all rich, all poor, or all whatever there would be no diversity of thought. As I have continued to say – and will say once again – what the court needs are good thinkers. Good thinkers who bring to the bench a wealth and diversity of experiences and thought.

I find it very ironic that generations after the deaths of Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass that we’re still talking about the need to fulfill their dream of equality.

May 3, 2009 at 12:06 PM

CT was a good argument against A-A.
His appointment shows that race shouldn't matter.

But if Obama seats a (G)LBT female Hispanic Atheist - he'll have all of his bases covered.

May 4, 2009 at 12:27 AM

@ UB John, one of the things about appointments to the court is the emphasis given to the political affiliation of the appointed and appointee. So, given that fact it would be very surprising to see this next appointment be a conservative. The fact that the POTUS may have an opportunity to select 2 more justices who also lean to the left - gives me great pause. Goes back to that diversity of thought and good thinker thing I've been debating on this post.

The issue with CT, is that he possesses none of these characteristics. If he's made a significant contribution to the court, I must have missed that awe-inspiring event.

But, if history has taught us anything regarding the Obama administration it has taught us not to attempt to predict what he will or will not do. Yes, I'd like to see Ward on the court but based upon what I've been hearing over the last couple of days it is doubtful that she will get the nod at this time. But, it will be very interesting over the next few weeks to see just how this all pans out.

"But if Obama seats a (G)LBT female Hispanic Atheist - he'll have all of his bases covered." ::smile:: Yes, then everyone would be happy - or at least they'd have to act like it! LOL

May 4, 2009 at 1:49 AM

when we speak of the Supreme Court we speak of the thoughts of interpretation of ideas already espoused in the Constititution. As far as I know there are only two schools of thought in that regard.

right now both schools of thought are basically evenly represented. and advocates of both sides think that their way of interpretation should be the only way.

diversity of thought as you are using it belongs in the legislature. that is where the problems of a society are meant to be addressed when speaking of government.

and if you really knew me better the idea of being offended by what i said would never have occurred to you.

"...that we are being racist? Being pro-Black is NOT being anti-White."

nothing i have said should have brought that idea up in regards to this discussion. if the idea entered your head then it did so because of your own thoughts not mine.

as far as i was concerned your post brought up an issue that deserved discussing, nothing else. you stated a preference in your post and i stated a preference in my first comment. isn't that the purpose of blogs?

you have said that you judge on faairness, consistency, and honesty.

let's see just how you abide by these principles.

"The fact that there are people of color who are possibly on his short list is a good thing. As our court should be representative of the population it serves."

alright, color is the basis of claim. you are asking me to think in terms of color in regards to representation. fine, right now there is one black which is just how many there should be if determining by population.

but, when speaking of that black man you say,
"And yes, Thomas is certainly Black - but, whether he "represents" the Black population is certainly suspect at best."

now, where is the consistancy of thought there? the only basis for that statement is that he does not think the same way as you do. then you say this;

"you sound like you have no issues with the Court being all white men"

now, we're back to color again. my first comment answers this charge, which is,
"me, myself, i'd prefer a choice be based on ability rather than on color."

last time i heard ability is not only color blind but it is also gender blind.
and even if i was i'll let one of your comments answer this also,
"Being pro-Black(white) is NOT being anti-White(black).

now, how fair are you being to me?

and the Supreme Court is not all white men. there are only seven white men on the Supreme Court now.

now, if we be judging the next Justice on population of color then you are already represented and seeking greater representation is unfair, dishonest and inconsistent.

now if we be judging the next on basis of thought then you are being represented by 5 Justices already and the color of the skin of Justice Souter's replacement should not matter.

now, if you can reconcile these inconsistancies so as to show you are consistent, fine. if you can reconcile your unfairness to my remarks so as to show how fair you are, fine. but be honest, not with me, but with yourself.

another thought you might think on. the Constitution, as enacted, is not illustrative of diversity of thought. it is illustrative of compromise of individual principles. the slave issue is the most apparent example of this. it was an issue unique in this Constitution and not an issue in our first Constitution.

now, show me where i was not consistent, fair or honest in my remarks here.

i could add a whole lot more to this comment based on each of your previous comments plus the post but i won't. this will be my last comment for this thread.

May 4, 2009 at 5:12 AM

@ The Griper,

One of the things that I've learned about blogging is that often the typed words leave much to interpretation. I have a feeling that if we were face to face with the ability to have a verbal exchange on this issue that we might very well find that we agree more than we disagree. Oh My! Now that is a scary thought and kind of throws my "diversity of thought" argument right out the window. LOL.

May 4, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Didn't you just KNOW it would be an ethnic woman?

May 26, 2009 at 11:36 PM

@ UB John,

::smile:: Guess I always did. And given the African roots of Puerto Ricans - I'd say his pick was darn near a grand slam!

May 27, 2009 at 4:59 PM
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