Capehart: Unnamed SCOTUS Pick Will Be ‘More Brilliant’ Than the Rest, Because, Racism!

On Friday’s PBS NewsHour, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart was angry enough at his fellow panelist David Brooks that he claimed that President Biden’s still-unknown Supreme Court nominee would probably be “more brilliant than the folks who have come in before her” because she had to overcome all the racism that defines America. 

Brooks claimed he was “a little uncomfortable” at Biden’s pledge to name a black woman, but he was hemming and hawing about how it’s important to have diversity. “But I would like to emphasize, I would like to think the part of the person that’s up front is their wisdom, their compassion, their care, and that they are treated as a whole person. And so I confess I’m a little uncomfortable with the way Joe Biden used that pledge during the campaign, though I support the idea of the pledge.”

I don’t like the pledge, but I support the idea of the pledge? Judy Woodruff never pushes back when Brooks or Capehart sound confused. She just robotically repeated: “Jonathan, would it be better for the president to have said the first thing that matters is wisdom?”

Capehart replied: “And, well, that’s what he said in his remarks yesterday. We have to understand something that, for far too long in this country, qualifications and wisdom and everything were never things that were — or ideas or characteristics — that were automatically ascribed to someone who was not white and certainly someone who was not white and male.”

Who said all white men had wisdom and qualifications “automatically ascribed” to them? It’s one thing to say the country has a history of racism. Saying all white men were automatically assumed to be wise men is Capehart heading back into “whiteness is a hell of a drug” territory. Then came the She’ll Be The Smartest smack talk: 

CAPEHART: And there — we have seen on the court that diversity has not been a thing on the court up until recently. We have an African-American justice. We have several women justices. We have a Latina justice. And, pretty soon, we will have a black woman justice.

And it says something — you can focus on the race, but how about we focus on the experience the person brings to the bench because of who they are, where they’re from, their lived experience?

And, also, the black woman who’s going to be on the bench will probably be more impressive, have more qualifications, be more brilliant than the folks who have come in before her, precisely because she has had to be all those things, because people used her race to downgrade and — downgrade and belittle and not think much of her, simply because she is black.

This was not what happened to Clarence Thomas when he was nominated by George H. W. Bush in 1991. They questioned his relative youth and inexperience in addition to suggesting he was for rolling back “individual rights” like abortion.

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