Kamala Harris: Friend to Indian Country and first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice?
She's (now) pro-tribal sovereignty and could reset the White House and the course of history all at the same time.
Some unsolicited advice to the White House from Indigenous Wire (we know you’re reading, Ron Klain): Why not consider Vice President Kamala Harris for the U.S. Supreme Court? Right now. Don’t think too much about it. Just do it.
As for our thinking, here goes, first along Indigenous lines:
She wasn’t known to be a great friend of Native America when she operated in California politics, especially when she served as its state attorney general. Justice issues, trust land decisions, state over tribal loyalties, and a general lack of positive attention were some of the biggest qualms.
Upon entering the Senate in 2017, she became more engaged with tribes, fundraising more among wealthy American Indian politicos (she did that as California’s AG, too), yet she still didn’t seem vastly knowledgeable of Native issues. She supported some Indian legislation.
Since running with President Joe Biden and becoming his veep, she has added a chunk of Native policy experience to her portfolio, working specifically on tribal broadband connectivity and Native voting rights.
She understands tribal sovereignty more now than she ever did. For an example, you can view her talking at November’s White House Tribal Nations Summit here.
She has called Aaron Payment, chairperson of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, one of her top consultants on American Indian issues, often singling him out for praise, as she did during the aforementioned summit.
Chairperson Payment tells Indigenous Wire that he has personally briefed Harris on various Native American topics, including ones related to the pandemic.
Beyond Indian Country, here is why Harris would be an excellent choice for Biden to pick to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the high court:
Harris is an African-American woman, and Biden promised to appoint an African-American woman to the high court, as Black females have been among his biggest supporters.
Harris knows the law.
Harris, at 57, is young and healthy.
Getting her out of the White House might allow for a reset that this administration appears to be desperately in need of.
She’d make history again, as the first African-American female Vice President and then the first African-American female Supreme Court justice.
Any problems that she may be having in the Office of the Vice President would disappear for both her and for Biden.
A more popular VP may re-energize Biden himself in year two and beyond.
The Senate would more than likely confirm her, with her providing the decisive 51st vote as the current VP. Could she vote for herself? Tell us in the comments if you think she couldn’t (we don’t know for sure). In that case, one GOP senator would have to cross the aisle to make this analysis work.
She could choose to live in a better house in D.C. than the Vice President’s residence, although it is pretty nice.
It might be fun for both her and for us.
Do you have more reasons for or against this awesome advice? Let us know in the comments!
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