Statement of the International Grand Polaris on the retirement of Justice Stephen A. Breyer
With the announcement that United State Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Breyer will retire, the nation is poised for the historic appointment of a Black woman to the high Court. During his campaign for the presidency, candidate Joe Biden committed to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. Now, President Biden has an opportunity to fulfill that promise and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. expects him to do so. For too long, the voice of a Black woman has been absent from the nation's highest tribunal. Now is the time to correct that historical omission.
Black women have borne the burdens of our nation, often with quiet dignity and too frequently in public pain. The value that a conscious Black woman would bring to the Supreme Court is beyond debate. The fact that a Black woman has never been appointed as one of the nine justices is a grave injustice. The United States will never be the nation it purports to be if it continues to discount its Black and brown progeny. This pending appointment will represent a significant course correction in our nation's quest for real justice under democratic rule.
We can recall the historic nature of the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court and how the addition of that brilliant jurist brought a new perspective to deliberations before the Court. During Marshall's tenure on the court, the nation's most disadvantaged populations – Blacks, Latinos, and women – knew he would protect their constitutional rights and he never wavered from his belief that the Constitution existed to protect the powerless as much as the powerful. Iota Phi Theta was founded during the period when this nation benefited from Justice Marshall's jurisprudence. The appointment of a Black woman will be no less significant. In many ways, considering the tenor of this Court, the addition of a Black woman will not change the ideological bend of the Roberts Court but it will inject a world view that has been missing since Justice Marshall's retirement from the bench in 1991.
We are faced with significant challenges to our voting rights, environmental protections, elections security and civil rights, and these weighty issues are coming before the Supreme Court. We need the assurance that our concerns will be heard deliberations before the Court and that we have a justice who recognizes the need for the Constitution to be more than just words on parchment.
As a fraternity with a large membership of Black men, Iota Phi Theta is excited for our sisters in the struggle as they are on the verge of gaining a voice on the highest legal body in our government. Let there be no mistake. Their time is now and we stand 100% in agreement that the next appointment to the Supreme Court should be a Black woman. There are a number of highly qualified and accomplished Black woman who can honorably serve this nation on the United State Supreme Court.
President Biden, we call on you to keep your campaign promise and nominate a Black woman to replace retiring Justice Stephen A. Breyer.