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Celebrating a Black Woman Supreme Court Justice – A Justice for Our Times

Note: We are sharing the following statement, which was issued on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, by The National Black Sisters Conference (NBSC), NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). We are members of LCWR and our own Sister Emily TeKolste ministers with NETWORK.

February 23, 2022

As Catholic women, rooted in our faith’s call to love one another and see God in every person, we strongly support the Biden administration’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, is the final arbiter on the most consequential legal issues governing our country and our society. The Supreme Court decides issues of law ranging from immigration to our criminal legal system, civil rights to healthcare. For that reason, it is imperative that the Court reflect the diversity of our country in order to act in a fully informed, deliberate way and arrive at sound decisions. In light of the renewed attacks on voting rights and racial progress we see today, it is even more critical to nominate a Justice who is committed to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution for this generation and the generations to come.

We also applaud the number of incredibly qualified Black women from different legal backgrounds who are ready to serve on the Supreme Court. The three most often cited potential nominees — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Justice Leondra Kruger, and Judge J. Michelle Childs — are all highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Each of these judges has both the background and judicial record to make them eminently qualified to join the other justices on the Court. Moreover, Supreme Court justices should possess good judgment, keen analytical skills, flexibility, and the ability to relate to the lives of everyday people and families in the United States — all people and families in the United States. Any of the potential nominees under consideration from the Biden administration would bring this combination of skills and experience to the Court.

We vigorously reject the comments of those who have already questioned the future nominee’s qualifications as racist and sexist. We must name and reject the racist and sexist narratives at play in this explicit and outright dismissal of the nominee’s qualifications before her name and record have even been made public. No such comments were heard when Presidents Reagan and Trump announced their intentions to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court and followed through on that promise. Clearly, the only conclusion that can be drawn about these current comments is that the objection is about the race of the potential nominees — hardly a valid reason to reject them.

This historic appointment will contribute to making the Supreme Court more representative of the people of the United States — all of the people. Of the 115 justices on the Supreme Court since its creation in 1789, 108 have been white men, including five of the nine currently serving, and none have been Black women. Increasing the Supreme Court’s racial diversity and expanding the professional backgrounds of the justices will improve decision-making on the bench and increase public trust in our courts. We the People encourage and support President Biden in his choice.

In this moment, the signs of the times cry out for us to build the beloved community here on Earth. Every person, no matter their race, origin, religion, or immigration status, has God-given dignity and deserves to be heard at the ballot box and respected in their home, workplace, and community. In faith, we will keep working to create a truly representative and inclusive multi-racial democracy.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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