Civil movement

Supreme Court vacancy: Progressives push NAACP lawyer who backed ‘defund the police’ movement

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News of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement has sparked a flurry of names as possible replacements, with some progressives lobbying for civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill, who has advocated for the ‘defund the police” in the past.

Since news broke Wednesday morning that Breyer was retiring, progressive Democrats have called on President Biden to keep his campaign promise to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court.


[email protected] you promised us a black woman on the Supreme Court,” tweeted Rep. Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., using the pseudonym of President Biden’s account. “Let’s see what happens.

According to some reports, Ifill, the president and director-attorney of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is among the names circulated as a potential candidate.

“While there are many qualified candidates to fill the vacancy for this field seat, the candidacies of Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger, J. Michelle Childs, Wilhelmina ‘Mimi’ Wright, Eunice Lee, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi and Sherrilyn Ifill should all need to be weighed and considered,” tweeted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

As the George Floyd protests swept the country in the summer of 2020, Ifill advocated for defunding the police during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

“It’s been interesting how that phrase ‘defund the police’ makes people very anxious and very nervous,” Ifill said at the time. “This is an opportunity for us to do something long overdue, which is to fundamentally reimagine what public safety looks like in this country.

“What we’ve done is we’ve given armed law enforcement officers the right to enter our communities to resolve a range of community disputes that actually don’t require an armed officer” , she continued. “Rather than handing over the entire public safety regime to armed law enforcement officers, we need to look at that funding, cut it, and use it to support those other services.

“I think the anxiety is about the phrase, not the concept. We should be looking at the budgets,” she added. “We have to recognize that this overreliance on the police has given us a regime that we can see is not working.”

Ifill also tweeted about the issue.

“The drastic reduction in funding for the police should not only result in the transfer of these funds to other existing social service agencies (because some may also be dysfunctional)”, she wrote on June 7, 2020. “This is a chance to reinvent public safety with the support of new community measures that can be transformative.”

The phrase “defund the police” not only became a rallying cry after Floyd’s death that summer, but served as a litmus test separating moderates from the progressive left. That latter wing, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., was adamant that the sentence should not be seen as merely rhetorical. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has called for the “complete” dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department because it is “rotten to the core.”


In many cases, city officials have practiced “defunding the police” by voting to cut funding for their respective police departments, but many have at least partially reversed course after seeing a significant increase in violent crime nationwide.

According to the FBI, the United States saw a nearly 30% increase in homicides in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Louis Casiano, Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.