Hawley’s Big ‘Gotcha’: Biden Hasn’t Rubber-Stamped Every Single Black Nominee Ever

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on judicial nominations and the “Online Content Policy Modernization Act,” in Dirksen Building on Thursday, December 10, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on judicial nominations and the Online Content Policy Modernization Act, in Dirksen Building on Thursday, Dece... UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on judicial nominations and the Online Content Policy Modernization Act, in Dirksen Building on Thursday, December 10, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to know: If President Joe Biden is so committed to appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court, then why hasn’t he supported every Black judicial nominee ever, hmmmm?

As he was speaking to reporters on the Hill on Tuesday, Hawley accused Biden of just chasing after what’s “politically advantageous” by promising to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer with a Black female justice — which would be a first for the high court.

“He opposed the historic nominations of African-Americans to the bench,” Hawley said. “Clarence Thomas. Janice Rogers Brown.”

Brown was a Black female judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit who was nominated by former President George W. Bush, and whose confirmation Biden voted against twice when he served as senator in 2003 and 2005.

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The Missouri senator trotted out the same talking point during a Fox News appearance last week, claiming that Biden, who as Senate Judiciary Committee chair oversaw Thomas’ confirmation process in 1991, “didn’t hesitate to lead the mob” against the then-nominee.

It’s not exactly a mystery why center-left Biden was opposed to confirming two conservative-libertarian judicial nominees.

Hawley’s latest false equivalence falls in line with some of his fellow Republicans’ racist narrative: that Biden is eschewing qualified SCOTUS candidates in favor of tapping literally any Black woman, no matter how incompetent, to the bench. Despite the nominee not even existing yet, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) declared last week that whomever Biden picks would be a “beneficiary” of affirmative action.

In reality, Biden made it clear in his announcement that his appointee would be a Black woman in addition to having “extraordinary qualifications.”

TPM reporter Kate Riga contributed to this story.

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