President Biden bats for racial diversity - GulfToday

President Biden bats for racial diversity


Joe Biden

President Joe Biden has begun to show that he is a man who can deliver. In a first of its kind and as a landmark gesture towards diversity in courts, Biden nominated several Black women, an Asian-American and the first Muslim ever to federal judgeships on Tuesday.

Breaking with predecessor Donald Trump’s four-year effort to staff federal courts with largely white male conservatives, Biden unveiled his first 11 picks for judges, with only two of them men, neither of them white.

At the top of his list was nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is African-American, to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is known to handle major cases.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson, 50, would replace Merrick Garland – who is now Biden’s attorney general – and be in a good position to become a candidate for the Supreme Court if a vacancy opens up.

No Black woman has yet served on the nine-justice high court.

Biden nominated two other African-American women to federal appeals court vacancies.

Among those chosen for federal district courts, two more were African-Americans (one of them male), two were Asian-Americans, one was of Hispanic origin and two were white women.

Interestingly, there is one candidate of Pakistani ancestry who has been selected. Zahid Quraishi, 45, would become the first ever Muslim to serve as a federal district judge if approved by the Senate.

Quraishi currently serves as a magistrate judge in New Jersey. “Judge Quraishi has defended and served our country with distinction in numerous roles – and will make history if confirmed as the first Muslim American federal judge,” said New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

The nominations as a whole “represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong,” Biden said in a statement.

The group is also diverse in its origins, including nominees with experience as public defenders, who provide free legal counsel to people who cannot afford it but face civil or criminal charges.

Race is a prickly issue. Early in his presidency, Trump initially resisted denouncing white nationalists after a deadly 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, stoking views that he sympathised with their cause. His harsh rhetoric often worsened racial crises that flared over police killings of Black people on his watch.

Trump has repeatedly denied any racist animus.

In his 2016 campaign, Trump focused on the grievances of white voters who feared the global economy was leaving them behind and who wanted more restrictions on immigration.

He said then that Mexicans were “murderers” and “rapists,” and labelled illegal immigration to the United States an “invasion.”

Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama, the first Black US president, once fielded a question from a healthcare worker concerned about the Republican president calling the coronavirus pandemic the “China virus.”

He responded by saying it was “absolutely sickening” how Trump “deals with people based on the colour of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from.”

Where the coronavirus handling is concerned, Americans are broadly supportive of President Joe Biden, according to a new survey.

Vaccine distribution has soared since Biden took office, with more than 96 million Americans having received at least one dose.

Biden does not believe in pandering to rabble-rousers. For him, diversity and acceptability are key. As Michael Wolff writes in GQ magazine, “Among the many perplexing things about the new political world for some former Trump White House staffers is that Joe Biden has largely picked non-controversial people to fill the places in his administration.”

For someone as cool and composed as Biden, this surely adds a feather to his political cap.

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