Brittany Shepherd, ABC News, January 30, 2022
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that a plurality of Americans view the Supreme Court as motivated by partisanship, while President Joe Biden’s campaign trail vow to select a Black woman to fill a high-court vacancy without reviewing all potential candidates evokes a sharply negative reaction from voters.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, comes days after the most senior member of the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, announced his retirement at the end of the current term. Breyer’s announcement provides Biden the opportunity to change the demographic makeup of the conservative-leaning bench.
During the spring 2020 presidential primaries, days before his set of big wins on Super Tuesday, Biden pledged to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, if elected. Now, with the chance to do so, just over three-quarters of Americans (76%) want Biden to consider “all possible nominees.” Just 23% want him to automatically follow through on his history-making commitment that the White House seems keen on seeing through. At a ceremony honoring the retiring justice, Biden told reporters he is able to honor his promise without compromising on quality.
“The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”
Although the poll’s sample size was not large enough to break out results for Black people, only a little more than 1 in 4 nonwhite Americans (28%) wish for Biden to consider only Black women for the vacancy. Democrats are more supportive of Biden’s vow (46%) than Americans as a whole, but still a majority of Democrats (54%) also prefer that Biden consider all possible nominees.
Democrats hope that the nomination will re-engage Democrats, who are sorely in need of a boost in the run-up to what is shaping up to be a very challenging midterm election for the party.