Why didn’t President Barack Obama decide to make history by nominating a gay candidate to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia?
Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner questioned the president on the issue, leading Obama to defend his decision to nominate Justice Merrick Garland — another straight male — to the highest court in the land.
“You had an opportunity with this nomination to, for the first time in the nation’s history, if the justice was confirmed, to have a Supreme Court that was not a majority of straight white men,” Geidner said. “Why didn’t you take the opportunity?”
Obama argued he never viewed the Supreme Court as deserving a quota primarily based on racial or gender or sexual preferences.
“That’s not how I think about those issues,” he said, arguing that the most qualified person deserved the job.
“When you cast a wide net and you look at all the people who are qualified, then you’re going to end up with a court that reflects America,” he said.
But Obama touted previous nominations to the Supreme Court for being female. He also reminded Geidner that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was Hispanic and that he appointed more women and LGBT judges than any president in history to some of the lower courts.
Obama admitted however, that he chose Garland because he was not a controversial pick.
“In this particular situation was what I was looking for was the best person for the Supreme Court at this time and somebody who could bring both conservatives and liberals together,” he said. “Because we don’t want the court being as polarized as our politics, and Judge Garland was the perfect candidate for this moment, for this particular seat.”