How about getting a Black on the Supreme Court?

(NNPA)—It’s been a long time since Thurgood Marshall served on the highest court in the land. I think it’s time we get another Black person on the bench. We have a “Black” president who has now nominated two females, one White and Jewish, and one Hispanic and Catholic. Now we have six Catholics and three Jews on the court, and no Blacks or so-called Protestants, the most prevalent religious segment in the United States. Hmmm.


You would think that after all Black people have done for this country, there would be a continuous effort to keep at least one Black person on the highest court in the land. Considering all we have sacrificed for this country, it is reasonable to assume that any fair-minded government leader would make every effort to appoint and maintain one Black to the Supremes.

And now that we have reached the nirvana we have all been waiting for: a “post-racial society” that is willing to elect a Black man as president, one would think the Supreme Court would be one-ninth Black.

Are there no qualified Black people to serve on the court? Since they all have to come from Harvard or Yale, do we have any Black folks with that pedigree? What’s up with this absence of Blacks on the Supreme Court? Somebody help me understand this, please!

Brother Anyim Palmer, in his book, “The Failure of Public Education in the Black Community,” quotes Susan B. Anthony as saying, “The old antislavery school says that women should stay back, that we must wait until male Negroes are voters. But we say, if you will not give the whole loaf of justice to an entire people, give it to the most intelligent first. If justice, intelligence and morality are to be placed in the government, then let the question of White women be brought up first and that of the Negro last.” Could that statement be the answer to my questions? Are White women more intelligent than Black men, as Anthony suggested? Is that why Elena Kagan was nominated?

Surely our president knows of someone Black who is intelligent and capable to serve as a Supreme. With all of his Harvard connections and such, I just have to believe he does. What do you think?

Okay, maybe I’ve got it. Kagan was real close to Thurgood Marshall, right? So she is nearly Black because of her association and relationship with Marshall. All right, I get it. I hope some of Marshall’s Black consciousness rubbed off on her, since she spent so much time with him. We desperately need someone on the court who is in tune with Black issues and someone who can relate to Black problems and stand up for us. C’mon, one out of nine is the least we can do. I always say that, more so than a mere color of the skin, Blackness is a state of mind. Black on the outside does not necessarily mean Black on the inside. And since our government has not shown a willingness to deal equitably with the issues facing Black people in this country, there should be someone on the Supreme Court who at a minimum has a Black consciousness.

The Jewish folks have their advocates, the Catholic folks have their advocates, the Harvard folks have their advocates, the Hispanic folks have their advocate, the gay folks have their advocate, and certainly the White folks have their advocates. Where is the Black folks’ advocate? Considering the fact that this deal is done, I hope Elena Kagan will fill that void—for now. And, who knows? Maybe next time, huh?

By the way, who is the next White guy scheduled to retire, Scalia or Thomas?

(James E. Clingman, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, is former editor of the Cincinnati Herald newspaper and founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce. To contact Clingman, go to his website, or call him at 513-489-4132.)

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