Progressives urge Biden to appoint justice on the side of workers, not corporations
Following a number of U.S. Supreme Court rulings favoring powerful corporations, progressives are demanding that President Joe Biden appoint a successor to Justice Stephen Breyer who will represent the interests of working people, continuing the trend he started with his appointments to lower federal courts.
The only potential nominee the White House has confirmed is on the president’s shortlist – U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs – does not reassure workers’ rights advocates that their appeal will be answered.
“Americans deserve a Supreme Court that upholds and advances racial and economic justice and protects working people from predatory special interests and corporations that continue to treat them as disposable.”
Childs’ name was pushed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (DS.C.), whose endorsement of Biden in the 2020 presidential primary was seen as instrumental in earning him the nomination.
Clyburn called on the president to appoint Childs, a former partner at the prestigious South Carolina law firm Nexsen Pruet, who warned against passing the Right to Organize (PRO) Protection Act, a legislation that would strengthen worker protections and is part of Biden. flagship economic program. At the firm, Childs has represented employers in nearly two dozen labor matters.
Childs’ nomination could guarantee Republican votes, Clyburn has told media in recent days, but progressives argue that Biden, who has pledged to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, should pick one of many black women. highly skilled who have combat experience. against, not in the name of corporate power.
“Identity is important but it’s not enough,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) tweeted last week after Breyer announced his intention to step down from court. The congresswoman and racial justice activist said the president must consider candidates who will prioritize “environment” and “economic justice” as much as he considers race and gender.
Like The American progressive reported Monday, while at Nexsen Pruet, Childs “overwhelmingly represented employers accused of violating civil rights and gender discrimination laws in the workplace.”
The judge’s clients included Conseco Finance, which was sued by a black employee who alleged racial and pregnancy discrimination after she was fired, and retail company L&L Wings, where an employee alleged she was sexually assaulted by a supervisor.
As a federal judge, Childs also dismissed a workplace sexual harassment case last year.
Tristin Brown, director of policy and programs at the People’s Parity Project, a network of law students and lawyers “organizing to unleash the legal system and build a justice system that values people over profits,” said The hill that Biden’s historic choice should mark a turning point for worker representation on the court.
“As a black woman, I know the importance of this moment. We have an opportunity right now where we can put the first black woman on the Supreme Court, which is a body and an institution that throughout its existence, has been almost exclusively made up of white men,” Brown said. The hill.
“At the same time,” she added, “I know how incredibly important it is to make sure that not only do we take this opportunity to make sure we get the first black woman on the Supreme Court, but to make sure that we get the first black woman who has also demonstrated an interest in the engagement and protection of civil and human rights, and one who has a particular reputation for being invested in the protection of the rights of ordinary workers in America.”
Biden’s expected nomination of a Supreme Court justice follows several pro-business rulings from the High Court, which is dominated by six right-wing justices, including three who were appointed by former President Donald Trump.
Last month, the court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a rule requiring large private companies to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations or mask-wearing among staff. Last year, judges ruled 8-1 in favor of Nestlé USA and Cargill, which were sued for alleged child trafficking.
According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, under right-wing Chief Justice John Roberts, the business-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported Supreme Court rulings 70% of the time, more than under Chief Justices William Rehnquist and Warren Burger.
“Americans deserve a Supreme Court that upholds and advances racial and economic justice and protects working people from predatory special interests and corporations that continue to treat them as disposable,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the International Union of services (SEIU), in a statement last week. “There is no place in the field for more prosecutors or lawyers who have spent most of their careers representing corporate interests.”
Judicial reform advocacy group Demand Justice published in 2019 a shortlist of progressive lawyers, judges and legal experts “who have spent their careers fighting to uphold the values of equality before the law”. .
Black women on the list include Michelle Alexander, founding director of the Racial Justice Project, ACLU of Northern California; Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke; Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; California State Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill; and Judge Wilhemina Wright of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
Brown Jackson, Kruger, Ifill and Wright are said to be among Biden’s suitors.
“There are so many absolutely amazing lawyers being considered for this Supreme Court vacancy – women with long, distinguished records of using their law degrees to advance real justice for marginalized people,” noted Molly Coleman, executive director of the People’s Parity Project. “Michelle Childs is not one of them.”