The recent sad passing of Justice Scalia leaves a vacuum in the United States supreme court which President Obama must fill. It is the president’s executive powers that allow for him to appoint justices onto the supreme court. A power which the Republicans have no right over. And a power that is not dependent on politics but on the American Constitution.

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Structurally, the Supreme court has nine justices. From these nine: three are women, and five are Caucasian men; and one is an American American man.


It is time for a second US justice who is African American and my reasons are as follows. The need for justice and a balanced understanding of our ethos; as well as the need to reflect the liberal tone of African American society calls for a second African American who will present this legislative impetus. The justice will not sit on the court as a champion of African Americans but reflects the dismal failure of Justice Thomas, who is seen by many as not reflective of the legal and Constitutional needs of African americans.

Concerning Justice Clarence Thomas my concerns are as follows:

Justice Thomas, who is known as a conservative and who barely utters any thing does not represent the way the majority of African Americans society feels; The majority of African Americans are Christian progressives not Political conservatives. Justice Thomas has failed to have the impact of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Thurgood Marshall was a solid supreme court justice, not because of his liberal views, but because he understood the jurisprudence ( science) behind the law and as it pertained to African American history and society. He was a genius in this regard. Sadly, certain laws in America affect certain groups disproportionately - for a justice to sit on the supreme court and argue that we as a nation are post race, post Affirmative Action, post glass ceiling, - is a disservice to the country as a whole. This form of participatory justice neither solves our legal problems nor arrives at the correct legal decision; putting a band aid on infectious and dangerous wounds is never a solution.

In regards to Affirmative action - this became for the supreme court a binary problem and yet it should have been  handled delicately allowing the concept to evolve to include poor white people; disabled Americans and other members of American society whose disadvantage is historic and not of their own making. A nation can only be truly great if this attitude of care is a part of its growth. My own feelings on this issue are that if Affirmative Action had started with poor white people it would still be a part of our legal tradition.


While critics might argue that the justices are not there as ethnic representatives; a moot argument because each member in the court has to reflect a certain segment of American society and we are not color blind. Is is true, you do not need white men for good laws; or white women; or black men or black women - our system should trump that. My point is - as utopian as we may idealize, we have not reached the point where our justices have no color on their skin; where we do not see color in America.

It is time African Americans stopped being overly represented in prisons and the country sees African Americans in more productive and solid positions. A second African American male judge on the supreme court would encourage rigorous debate on major constitutional issues as well as reflect the pulse of the Nation.

Ken Sibanda is an American Constitutional Attorney, known affectionately as Tecumseh for his work. He has written and published for numerous works, including the legal case book on transitional justice: Constitutional Law: Peace Accords (Tovakare Press: New York) 2016.


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