Ted Cruz Slammed for Comments About Biden's SCOTUS Choice

Senator Ted Cruz has been slammed by critics after he said President Joe Biden's historic vow to nominate a Black woman for the Supreme Court is "offensive."

On Monday, Cruz became the latest GOP lawmaker to criticize Biden's promise about his nominee choice, a signal that the president may face significant Republican opposition in the evenly divided Senate to his pick to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.

During his podcast, Verdict With Ted Cruz, the Texas senator said prioritizing a Black woman to fill the vacancy is "actually an insult to Black women." He added that it makes other candidates who don't fit the criteria feel "ineligible."

"The fact that he's willing to make a promise at the outset that it must be a Black woman, I got to say that's offensive. You know, Black women are, what, 6 percent of the U.S. population? He's saying to 94 percent of Americans, 'I don't give a damn about you, you are ineligible,'" Cruz said.

"If he came and said, 'I'm gonna put the best jurist on the court and he looked at a number of people and he ended up nominating a Black woman, he could credibly say, 'OK, I'm nominating the person who's most qualified,'" the senator added.

Cruz's comments immediately received a wave of backlash online from Democrats, including a Black congresswoman who accused Cruz of "thinking he speaks for us."

"This nation has been built on the strength and fortitude of Black women. We are everything from caregivers to CEOs and soon, a Supreme Court Justice. The only thing insulting to this Black woman is Ted Cruz thinking he speaks for us," Representative Marilyn Strickland tweeted.

Representative Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, said Monday that lawmakers should be celebrating an important milestone with the prospect of the first Black woman being nominated to the Court.

"Of the 115 people previously confirmed to serve as justices on the United States Supreme Court, 112 were white and 110 were men. Not one was a Black woman. Senate Republicans could celebrate this important milestone in American history; instead they're disgracing themselves," Beyer tweeted.

Shuwaski Young, a Democrat who is running for a House district in Mississippi, wrote on Twitter that Cruz's comments are a product of "systematic racism."

"Sen. Ted Cruz is the 3rd US Senator that I've condemned for ignoring equity on SCOTUS and disrespecting Black Women. We are in times that call upon All of us to speak truth to power. This is unfettered systematic racism," Young wrote.

Kim Mangone, a former Democratic congressional candidate in California, also slammed Cruz, tweeting that "any Black woman President Biden is considering to be a Supreme Court Justice will be infinitely more qualified than Ted Cruz is to be a United States Senator."

Along with Cruz, other GOP lawmakers have criticized Biden's promise to select a Black woman. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said this past weekend that Biden's process so far has been "clumsy at best," while Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi said the nominee will likely be a "beneficiary" of affirmative action who will "misinterpret the law."

Biden has not yet announced a nominee, but some names under consideration include U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Leondra Kruger of the Supreme Court of California.

The president said last week that his nominee will likely be chosen by the end of this month, adding that the selection process will be "rigorous."

Breyer, a liberal who will retire this summer at the end of the current term, has served on the Court for nearly three decades, after being nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Ted Cruz Slammed for SCOTUS Comments
Critics have slammed GOP Senator Ted Cruz for saying President Joe Biden's promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court is "offensive." Above, Cruz during a Senate hearing on January 5. TOM WILLIAMS/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Newsweek contacted Cruz's office for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.