Will Obama Nominate A Person Of Color To Replace Scalia?

Cierra Bailey
There are several highly qualified people of color President Obama could potentially choose to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

After the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, rumors immediately began to fly around concerning who President Barack Obama will nominate as his replacement.

Despite Republicans threats to block anyone he nominates, Obama announced that he will choose a successor “in due time” — a proper response, considering it’s a very critical decision that comes about in the wake of tragedy and should not be made in haste.

His announcement, however, has not stopped speculations about who he will choose. It is expected that he will, of course, nominate a liberal but it is also highly anticipated that this individual will be a person of color.

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Currently, the only justices of color are Clarence Thomas who is African-American and Sonia Sotomayor who is Puerto Rican-American. Sotomayor has a liberal background and was appointed by Obama back in 2009, but Thomas is a hardcore conservative who isn’t viewed favorably among the left wing or the black community.

Liberals are hopeful that Obama will splash a little more color into the SCOTUS to make for a stronger representation of the American people.

A huge milestone for the SCOTUS would be to welcome a black woman to the group. Two names that have been mentioned are Attorney General Loretta Lynch as well as attorney and educator, Anita Hill.

People have already begun rallying behind Hill as a nominee, with a Change.org petition urging Obama to consider her.

"Anita Hill is a highly qualified legal scholar with all the right qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. She will be an excellent choice to make the most important decisions facing our judiciary," the petition states.

If Obama nominated either Lynch or Hill, they would be the first black woman ever nominated to the high court.

Hill’s nomination would be controversial, no doubt, as she is known for testifying during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings that Thomas made sexually provocative statements toward her while she was working as his special assistant.

Thomas and Hill serving as justices together would likely cause a stir, making conservatives uncomfortable.  

Vietnamese-American, Jacqueline Nguyen, has also been mentioned, but not nearly as much as the other two potential female nominees. She has been a judge on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2012. She reportedly has a firm grip on the law and she would certainly be less controversial than Hill.

Among the male choices is Indian-American circuit judge Sri Srinivasan, who Republican senators actually supported back in 2013 when he was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Huffington Post reports. Other than being highly qualified for the position, Srinivasan may be the only potential nominee that the Republicans don’t block.

Then there is Paul Watford, an African-American judge who was appointed by Obama to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. As a liberal black man, his presence on the SCOTUS would certainly counteract Thomas’s overtly conservative approach.

With so many qualified, unheard voices to choose from, Obama has quite a tough decision on his hands. He may not even choose a person of color at all, but in his final year as president he should take full advantage of this unexpected opportunity to make a profound difference in the makeup of the SCOTUS, especially as the justices are set to hear major cases regarding abortion rights and immigration, among other hot-button topics.

In the eyes of Republicans, however, it doesn’t matter who Obama nominates or how eligible they are for the job. The GOP is so fixated on undermining Obama that he could resurrect and nominate Ronald Reagan himself, and they still wouldn’t be happy. 

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