The Congressional Black Caucus plans to meet this week to plot its strategy for the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.
Caucus chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has urged President Barack Obama to consider a minority or woman candidate to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. In a statement earlier this month, Lee said it was “essential that President Obama consider gender and ethnic diversity on the high court in an increasingly diverse America.” At an appropriations hearing last week, Lee also tangled with Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s sole African-American jurist, over the lack of diversity among its clerks.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is leading the caucus’s approach to judicial nominations. She told The Hill that she would recommend that the caucus “take no position on a specific name yet.” She added, however, that “the caucus should be concerned if we get a nominee that appears to be considerably less progressive than the retiring Justice Stevens.”
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The caucus appears to be adopting a lower profile in the selection process after a number of members floated the name of one of their own, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), last year for the seat that ultimately went to Sonia Sotomayor.