Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding his meeting with President Biden yesterday and the importance of nominating and confirming the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Senator Schumer also reiterated his commitment to move quickly to consider and confirm President Biden’s nominee. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday I met with President Biden at the White House to discuss a broad range of issues on the Democratic agenda, and one of the most important matters we covered was his intention to nominate the first Black Woman Justice to the Supreme Court.
I reiterated the same commitment I’ve made all week: when President Biden makes his nominee known to the nation, I will move to have the Senate consider and confirm her as soon as possible.
I will see to it that the process is fair, that members on both sides of the aisle can evaluate, question, and get to know the nominee—but we will also move quickly. Everything seems to be on track to get that done, to move the nominee quickly through the Congress.
President Biden is not expected to announce his nominee for a few weeks, but we already know one thing: the President’s pledge to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court is historic. There have been 115 Justices who have sat on the court since 1789. Only five of them have ever been women, none until 1981. Only two have been African American. But never, never has there been an African American woman, who still make up barley 6% of the federal Judiciary. Amazing, until 1981, this powerful body, the Supreme Court, was [almost] all white men. Imagine. America wasn't all white men in 1981, or ever.
Under President Biden and this Senate Majority, we’re taking historic steps to make our courts look more like the country they serve by confirming highly-qualified, diverse nominees.
A quarter—a quarter—of all African American women who sit on the federal bench were nominated by this Administration and approved by this Senate. Just hear that. 25% of African American women who sit on the federal bench came through this Senate this year. That's the progress we've made in a relatively short amount of time.
In fact, nearly 70% of all of the President’s nominees have been non-white, dwarfing the records of every single president since at least Jimmy Carter. Some say, well why was that? Because the bench has been almost all white, as I have said. We have ground to make up so the courts can represent America.
These aren’t abstract facts and figures—who we put on the bench matters, the personal experience that each judge brings to bear cannot be merely glanced over.
When Americans come before the courts, and look up at those who preside in the courtroom, they should trust that those who render judgment on them will be able to understand each litigant’s lived experience, and bring a modicum of human understanding required to apply the law equitably. The best way—the best way—we can do that is to elevate judges from a broad range of backgrounds.
Diversity, in all its forms, matters. It’s good for the justice system and it’s really vital to the health of our democracy.
President Biden's nominees are also extremely well qualified. We are not sacrificing qualifications and excellence for diversity. President Biden’s nominees are both more diverse and more qualified than any president in recent history.
I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve secured this past year to bring balance to our federal courts.