In one of the most difficult moments of his presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised that he would be the first president in US history to choose a black woman for the U.S. Supreme Court – a lifetime appointment. Recently at an event at the White House, where Judge Stephen Breyer officially announced that this June, at the end of the Court’s current session, he will submit his resignation as a Supreme Court justice, Biden confirmed that he intends to fulfill his election promise.
I am one of the last to deny or ignore or justify the racism, injustice, and oppression that African-Americans have suffered since their arrival as slaves in America in 1619. And I would be one of the last to not support the efforts to eradicate racism – to ensure equality between all the races and nationalities that make up American society.
(When I once asked the late Archbishop Iakovos why he protested with Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama, he replied that he did it, “because I felt like a second-class citizen in Imbros.”)
And it does not escape my attention either that both legislation and the pressure of public opinion have been mobilized to correct injustices against minorities. However, I am concerned that restricting the selection of a candidate for the Supreme Court to a particular racial group and gender may, firstly, deprive the Supreme Court of the best possible candidate in general, and secondly, that it creates a sense of reverse discrimination for others.
Please note that I have no doubt that there are many black women candidates with excellent qualifications for this position. However, I believe that by limiting the choice to a specific group, they too are wronged as the wrong message is sent regarding the importance of meritocracy.
And since all policy decisions necessarily contain the element of political expediency, I’m concerned about the message this process sends to those who already consider themselves marginalized, like the many Trump supporters.
In conclusion, while I consider it necessary for all Americans to have the same opportunities in life, and because I know that this is impossible – for example, a child born on the Upper East Side has one set of opportunities and the one who grows up a few miles up in Harlem has other opportunities – legislation must ensure that the conditions of competition are as balanced as possible.
In some cases, it is still necessary to tilt the ground plate slightly towards the weak and the wronged.
But when dividing the candidates in this way regarding the highest positions becomes the policy of the country, then at the end of the day the state becomes weaker and the opportunities for everyone are reduced, including those whose position you are trying to improve.