Rep. Jim Clyburn says Hillary Clinton would've won in 2016 if Obama had nominated a Black woman to the Supreme Court

·3 min read
Jim Clyburn
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Jim Clyburn said Hillary Clinton would've won in 2016 if Obama had tapped a Black woman for SCOTUS.

  • Clyburn told The Hill that GOP resistance to the pick would have increased Black turnout that year.

  • Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — the first Black woman — was confirmed to the court last Thursday.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would've won the 2016 presidential election if former President Barack Obama had nominated a Black woman to the Supreme Court, according to The Hill.

While speaking with the newspaper, the South Carolina Democrat brought up Obama's nomination of now-Attorney General Merrick Garland for the vacancy that arose after the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

"I'll always believe that if this had been done when Garland's name went up that Hillary Clinton would have been president," he said.

He continued: "All you've got to do is look at voter turnout. Look at Hillary Clinton's turnout. I just think the Black vote would have been much more incentivized in Michigan, for instance, and other places, that I think would have made a huge difference. It would have given her a much better message to run on."

While Democratic presidential nominees previously won the pivotal states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in every election from 1992 to 2012, Clinton lost all three in 2016 — and decreased turnout among Black voters coupled with a collapse among rural white voters doomed her candidacy. Had Clinton won all three states instead of former President Donald Trump, she would have won the White House.

Earlier in 2016, Clyburn pressed Obama to nominate a Black woman — Howard University Law School Dean Danielle Holley-Walker — which journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book "Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency."

However, Obama nominated Garland — who was widely regarded by legal scholars as a moderate while on the highly-influential US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — to replace to deeply conservative Scalia.

Obama saw the resistance that Senate Republicans were building and sought to find a replacement who was a respected commodity in a sharply-divided Washington.

"Because of the political climate, President Obama wanted to make sure he picked somebody who was beyond any possible criticism over whether or not he was ready to serve," a former Obama White House official told Politico.

Republicans in the upper chamber — led by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa — blocked the nomination anyway.

Clyburn's earlier point was that a Black female judge being blocked by Senate Republicans would've added a selling point for Clinton's candidacy and increased enthusiasm among Black voters.

Since Trump captured the presidency that year, he was able to nominate Neil Gorsuch — a conservative judge on the Denver-based US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — to the Supreme Court shortly after taking office in 2017.

In early 2020, then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden pledged to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court if he won his bid for the White House.

After receiving the coveted endorsement of Clyburn in the South Carolina primary, Biden easily won the state's primary — fueled by the support of Black voters.

The victory set him up for a dominant performance on Super Tuesday and the remainder of the Democratic primaries, and he retained that broad support in his November victory.

Weeks after Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announced in February that he would step down from the Supreme Court at the end of its current term, President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson — the first Black woman — to serve on the court.

She was confirmed by the Senate to the high court last Thursday in a 53-47 vote.

Clyburn during a Friday MSNBC appearance said that "it meant so much" for him to see Jackson's confirmation.

Read the original article on Business Insider