Biden’s Chance to Nominate a Supreme Court Justice

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  • Uniting for Voting Rights
  • Two Patients, One I.C.U. Bed

Justice Stephen Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Breyer to Retire, Giving Biden a Court Pick” (front page, Jan. 27):

Although I am saddened that a jurist of Justice Stephen Breyer’s skills and temperament is retiring, I expect that the Democratic majority in the Senate will be able to provide a full hearing and bring President Biden’s nominee to a confirmation vote.

I hope that Senator Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues will not drum up a flimsy excuse to block the president from carrying out his constitutional duties of filling a vacant seat, as happened with Merrick Garland.

Republican senators, be ready with your questions, but put the nation above politics and allow Mr. Biden to fill this seat on the high court.

Edwin Andrews
Malden, Mass.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Promised a Black Woman on the Supreme Court,” by Charles M. Blow (column, Jan. 27):

The Black women mentioned as potential Supreme Court nominees seem eminently qualified. That said, President Biden’s promise to appoint a Black woman was as offensive to me as someone promising to appoint a white male would have been. Imagine the outrage.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said we should be judged by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin. Mr. Biden has done his eventual nominee no favor by singling out race and gender as the chief criteria.

Notwithstanding the excellent qualifications of judges like Ketanji Brown Jackson and Leondra R. Kruger, they will forever be regarded as affirmative action choices. And these highly qualified nominees deserve better.

Mary Ann Lynch
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
The writer is a retired lawyer.

To the Editor:

The news that President Biden is planning to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court is missing the best choice: Anita Hill. Ms. Hill, a noted legal scholar and Yale Law graduate, has the legal bona fides to join the court.

Her appointment to the Supreme Court would help right Mr. Biden’s most notable public wrong. His poor treatment of Ms. Hill when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 to accuse Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment has forever tarnished Mr. Biden’s legacy.

Her nomination would be a victory not just for Black women, but also for all women who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace.

Molly Colvin
Mount Pleasant, S.C.

To the Editor:

Since President Biden boxed himself in with his pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, he has no realistic political choice but to do so. This reinforces the perception of the Democratic Party as having surrendered to identity politics, but so be it: That ship has long since sailed.

I already have a headache when I think of the pixels and newsprint that will be expended on this process. I hope that the president will come up with a name quickly, and that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings expeditiously. It probably won’t be as simple as it seems — nothing ever is — but another drawn-out and angry confirmation battle is not what this country needs right now.

Alexander Goldstein

To the Editor:

The suspense is terrific. Who will Senator Joe Manchin’s pick for the Supreme Court be?

Alan Meisel
The writer is emeritus professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh.

Uniting for Voting Rights

  Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “How Did Democrats Let This Happen?,” by Bishop Reginald T. Jackson (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 17):

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson calls out Democrats and especially President Biden for failure to lead the fight to protect voting rights. Presidential leadership is critical, but so is a strong movement to back it up.

One source of widespread support for a save democracy movement is the numerous organizations promoting economic, social, racial and gender justice that often pursue their goals separately.

Justice advocates have good reason — in addition to the obvious one of saving government for and by the people — to throw their full weight behind protection of voting rights.

The current assault on democracy targets the voting rights of the very groups who are likely to vote for and stand to gain most from progressive legislation like access to affordable health care and child care, decent housing, a guarantee of living-wage work and workplace rights.

That is why those engaged in the struggle for economic and social justice must make preservation of democracy and voting rights integral to their goals and struggles. Let us put aside the siloing that often characterizes our work and unite to preserve democracy.

Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg
New Canaan, Conn.
The writer is chair of the National Jobs for All Network.

Two Patients, One I.C.U. Bed

To the Editor:

In “A Covid Ethics Question” (letter, Jan. 27), a doctor asks whether an unvaccinated Covid patient should be “rewarded” for her “vaccination choice” with a scarce I.C.U. bed that could have gone to a vaccinated heart attack victim. Well, what if that heart attack victim was a smoker and an overeater? Should her personal choices be rewarded?

Rather than going down the dangerous road of withholding medical care from the undeserving, we should allocate lifesaving care on the basis of need. When there is equal need and inadequate supply, a coin toss in an emergency — or a lottery in advance — embodies the principle that we are all equal.

Felicia Nimue Ackerman
Providence, R.I.
The writer, a bioethicist, is a professor of philosophy at Brown University.

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