Q97: Will you commit to nominating judges who reflect the demographic diversity of the United States, including Black women, and have a record demonstrating respect for and knowledge of civil rights laws?
Buttigeig: Yes. I will ensure that my judicial nominees reflect the demographic diversity of America, and in particular include more women and people of color. We will also prioritize deepening the experience of the federal bench by appointing former public defenders and civil rights attorneys who share a commitment to the protection and expansion of civil rights and civil liberties.
Steyer: Yes. Nominating someone to sit on the nation’s highest courts is one of the most consequential decisions that a president can make. As the guardians of our rights, judicial nominations have far-reaching implications that can last generations and should have a record of academic achievement and judicial temperament. When making a decision, I would consult with non-profit organizations, policy advocates, labor unions, and experts within the legal community, including the American Constitution Society, the Alliance for Justice, and the American Bar Association. I would use the utmost care when selecting judges for our nation’s courts and would seek those who can decide impartially, uphold our civil rights and the Constitution faithfully, reflect the demographic diversity of our country, and take the oath of office solemnly.
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: Senator Klobuchar will waste no time nominating a full slate of well-qualified judges who reflect the diversity of America and who will respect precedent and follow the law.
Sanders: Yes. Bernie has promised that when he is President, his administration will reflect the diversity of America, and will have the guts to take on the powerful special interests standing in the way of progress. That includes Supreme Court Justices.
Warren: The justice system should reflect the country it serves. Judicial appointments are primarily white and male, and large numbers tend to be corporate lawyers and former prosecutors. Diversity of background and experience matter. That’s why I have pushed for increasing the professional diversity of our federal judiciary to insulate the courts from corporate capture, and why I support gender and racial diversity for judicial nominees. I’ll appoint a diverse slate of judges, including those who have a background defending civil liberties or as public defenders. We must also end corruption in Washington. That’s why I’ve proposed the biggest anti-corruption bill since Watergate. It is an aggressive set of reforms that would fundamentally change the way Washington does business – including restoring faith that ordinary people can get a fair shake in our courts. That means applying the judicial code of conduct to Supreme Court justices – and strengthening it – so our judiciary can’t get paid by corporations to attend events, receive gifts for giving speeches, or go on fancy hunting trips and lavish getaways funded by billionaires. Federal judges and Supreme Court justices should also be committed to increasing transparency. Americans should be able to easily see what is happening in the judicial process, public filings should be more easily accessible and free online, and Supreme Court proceedings should be audio live-streamed. My selection criteria for a Supreme Court justice would prioritize someone who would adhere to this code of conduct – because everything is at stake with respect to Supreme Court justices. I will also remake the federal courts with nominees who support working people. That starts at the top: I pledge as President to nominate a demonstrated advocate for workers to fill any Supreme Court vacancy, and I will nominate judges who actually respect the law and cases like Roe v. Wade and who will uphold, rather than threaten, LGBTQ+ rights.
Q98: Do you support appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court?
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: No response.
Sanders: Yes. Bernie believes that Supreme Court Appointments must fundamentally understand the need to protect the rights of everyone, not just a select few. They must defend Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion. That means a promise to defend the rights of people with disabilities. It means they vote to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. They must defend voting rights. And they must respect the rights of workers, which includes a commitment to overturn the disastrous Janus decision and protecting our public sector workers. And, unlike many of Trump’s nominees, any justice Bernie nominates must loudly and clearly support the original Brown v. Board ruling.
Steyer: Yes. I will support nominees for appointment to the Supreme Court that are committed to due process under the law and upholding the Equal Protection Clause for all Americans, regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity.