On Monday, at a White House celebration of Black History Month, Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking of President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring, insisted, “Because as we all know, elections matter. When folks vote they order what they want. And in this case, they got what they asked for.”

On Friday, President Biden bragged about his decision, tweeting, “I sought a nominee with the strongest credentials, record, character, and dedication to the rule of law. That’s why I’m excited to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”

But Biden’s nomination of Jackson to the Court came after he made a pledge in his 2020 presidential campaign for political expediency. Biden’s 2020 campaign pledge to put a black woman on the Supreme Court was made, as has always been characteristic of Biden, as a political move to advance his own political career. As Yahoo News recollected:

It was Feb. 25, 2020, the night of a crucial Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina — and Biden’s campaign was on the ropes, in serious danger of being knocked out of the race. … Biden was counting on a promised endorsement from the most powerful figure in the state’s Democratic politics, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, to revive his campaign.

But Clyburn was extracting a firm promise from Biden: that he would name an African American woman to the Supreme Court. … Clyburn raised the issue with Biden on the night before the debate, and he expected that Biden would make the commitment during the debate.

But Biden did not initially make the pledge during the debate, irritating Clyburn. As journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes noted, during a break in the debate, Clyburn headed for Biden. Allen said Clyburn confronted Biden, saying, “Look, I told you that I wanted you to say that you were going to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court. You haven’t done it yet. You’ve had a bunch of opportunities. Don’t you dare leave this stage without doing it.”

When the break was over, Biden was asked about his personal motto. He answered, “Everyone should be represented. … The fact is, what we should be doing — we talked about the Supreme Court. I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation. … Not a joke.”

Clyburn officially endorsed Biden the next morning, Biden swept to victory, and never looked back as he passed Bernie Sanders and captured the nomination.

In late January, Biden announced the upcoming retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and reiterated his prior pronouncement that he would nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court if given the opportunity. He stated, “The person I will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity, and that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.” 

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