'Slapped in the Face': Minority Women's Groups Upset Obama Didn't Tap 'Black Woman' for SCOTUS

You can't please all of the people...

You know how the saying goes: "you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."

Such is the case with President Obama's Supreme Court Justice nominee, Merrick Garland, and if you think we are referring to Republican opposition to the nominee, think again.

African-American women's groups including the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the National Coalition on Black Participation (NCBP) are also up in arms over Obama's SCOTUS pick because they'd rather a "strong black woman" be nominated to the highest court in the land. 

NCBP president Melanie Campbell said her organization will support Garland, but "we have and will continue to advocate for the next Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by an exceptional black woman."

"The fact that he [Obama] would once again look over black women for this specific appointment is an absolute slap in the face to his top supporters," said Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women.

The Associated Press reports that many minority advocacy groups are disappointed in Obama's decision to nominate Garland over a judge who can tick the "diversity" box:

"Having racial diversity, in particular, has always led to better outcomes that are more representative of our communities, especially given the demographics in this country," said Lakshmi Sridaran, director of national policy and advocacy for South Asian Americans Leading Together, an advocacy group.

Black women may feel especially rejected, considering their large turnout in 2008 (68 percent) and 2012 (70 percent). The vast majority of them, 96 percent, voted for Obama in 2012, according to exit poll data.

By selecting Garland, Obama "does not give the respect to his most ardent supporters," said Barbara Arnwine, executive director at the Transformative Justice Coalition. "The passion you saw around Sotomayor you will not see around this pick," Arnwine said.

Jones-DeWeever said black women might have been inspired to lobby the Senate daily to get a black female nominee confirmed, as they did during Lynch's confirmation process. But now, Jones-DeWeever said, "I'm not motivated to lift one finger to get his nomination through."

Janice Mathis, head of the National Council of Negro Women, said such disappointment likely will not affect black women's participation in this fall's presidential election.

We suppose Justices Sotomayor and Thomas do not count. The truth is special interests groups are never happy. This is another instance where identity politics trumps substance and experience and worthiness for a particular job. We can applaud or oppose Merrick on the basis of substance (and in conservatives' case on the basis that his appointment would block a seat that could otherwise go to a staunch conservative), but please, in the post-Obama word, are special interest groups really going to bemoan the fact that the nominee is not a minority woman? A rhetorical question, to be sure. 

Issues

People