Joe Biden on March 15 said he will select a woman as his vice presidential running mate if he’s the Democratic presidential nominee and would appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court if he becomes president.
The former vice president made the commitments in response to a question on women’s rights during the one-on-one Democratic primary debate against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
“Number one, I committed that if I’m elected president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I will appoint the first black woman to the court,” Biden said. “It’s required that they have representation now. It’s long overdue.”
T.J. Ducklo, the national press secretary for the Biden campaign, confirmed that the former vice president was referring to the Supreme Court.
“Secondly, if I’m elected president, my cabinet, my administration, will look like the country and I commit that I, in fact, will pick a woman to be vice president,” Biden added. “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president.”
Biden made the comments in response to a question from a voter that was played via video feed during the debate held in Washington. The debate was moved from Phoenix and conducted without a live audience as a precaution against the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The two candidates opted for an elbow bump over a handshake.
Sanders responded to the question by committing to have half of his cabinet and his administration be staffed by women. The socialist senator from Vermont also highlighted his long-term support for abortion, his plan for “universal affordable child care,” his efforts against domestic violence, and his opposition to the alleged wage gap between women and men.
Sanders said he has a “very strong agenda in fighting for the rights of women who today are under incredible political assault by Trump and Republican governors all across this country.”
The debate took place as Biden leads Sanders in the Democratic primary campaign, which next heads to the populous states of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio on March 17. Latest poll numbers suggest Biden will win all four states.
Then-President Barack Obama appointed two women to the Supreme Court: Elena Kagan, the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Russia, and Sonia Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants.
Sotomayor once argued that justices’ “national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
During the debate, the two candidates pitched themselves as superior leaders and clashed over their health care and climate plans.
Sanders suggested that his socialist Medicare for All policy would be better suited to address the coronavirus pandemic. Biden pointed out that Italy’s socialized health care system didn’t prevent the country from being the hardest hit by the virus outside of China, where it first emerged.
President Donald Trump, whom the two candidates are vying to face in the November general election, called the debate “VERY boring” in a post on Twitter.