NAACP President Benjamin Jealous has a bold suggestion for President Barack Obama: Appoint an African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“He still has several more appointments, and we expect that we’ll see at least the same diversity that we saw the first time around,” Jealous told POLITICO. “What we’re hoping to see is a black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Perhaps Jealous is devising a plan to get Obama out of hot water with some Democrats who have accused the president of appointing too many white men to his inner circle and not enough women and people of color.
When Obama named Jack Lew as his Treasury secretary two weeks ago — the fourth white male he has named to Cabinet-level posts in recent weeks – Democrats quickly took Obama to the woodshed for not assembling a more racially-diverse and gender-diverse Cabinet.
But Jealous didn’t just toss out an idea – he also tossed out a name: California Attorney General Kamala Harris – the state’s first African American and Indian American attorney general.
“Kamala Harris would be a brilliant pick,” Jealous said. “I personally would like to see somebody young who could stay on there for decades,” he said.
“If you look at what they did with [Justices] Antonin Scalia and with Clarence Thomas, we’re going to have these guys for decades,” he added. “It’s time for us to [have that]. So yeah, she would be top. But there are several women who could do this job and do it well.”
The outspoken NAACP leader is also reading the political tea leaves: He knows Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be considering retirement. She’s 79 years old.
Jealous may be on to something: Harris, 48, is a rising star in the Democratic Party who has been called “the female Barack Obama” in some political circles.
Harris, who was born in Oakland, has focused on combating gangs that are trafficking guns, drugs, and human beings throughout California. She also secured an estimated $18 billion from the nation’s banks as part of the recent National Mortgage Settlement. She also attended Howard University, where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Meanwhile, some prominent Democrats have been turning up the heat on Obama and criticizing his recent appointments.
“It’s embarrassing as hell,” said New York Democrat Charles Rangel, one of the most senior black members of Congress.
But Jealous said it’s still too early to beat up on Obama.
“At the end of the day — this president has been committed to diversity. He showed that in his first term and we owe it to him to let him finish making his appointments before we pass judgment,” Jealous said. “We want to see a Cabinet that represents the country.”
The president was forced to defend his record on diversity last week and said his critics should not rush to judgment.
“I’m very proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse, White House and a Cabinet than any in history,” Obama said. “I intended to continue that, because it turns out when you look for the very best people, given the incredible diversity of this country, you’re going to end up with a diverse staff.”
Meanwhile, POLITICO listed Harris as one of its 13 top people to watch in politics in 2013. “…Many Democrats sense her catapulting up the ranks in the party — and soon,” according to POLITICO.
Harris has a bright political future. We’ll see if she catapults all the way to the Supreme Court.