Chuck Schumer Forgot Thurgood Marshall in Speech About Black Supreme Court Justices

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer falsely claimed that the Supreme Court “was all white men” until 1981. 

QUICK FACTS:
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer said during a speech from the Senate Floor that the United States Supreme Court was made up entirely of white men until 1981 according to Law & Crime.
  • Thurgood Marshall, a black man, served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991, according to his website.
  • Schumer made his comments due to controversy over the potential next Supreme Court justice.
  • The Senate majority leader tweeted an apology later in the day saying that he “misspoke” and lauded the dedication and “legal excellence” of Marshall.
  • Schumer said during his Thursday that he would “see to it” that the confirmation process is “fair” and speedy, according to Fox News
  • “Sorry that I misspoke earlier today,” he wrote. “Of course, I remember the dedication and legal excellence that Thurgood Marshall brought to the Supreme Court.”
WHAT SCHUMER SAID:
  • “The president’s pledge to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court is historic,” Schumer said during floor remarks about President Biden’sforthcoming Supreme Court nomination according to Fox News.
  • “Until 1981, this powerful body, the Supreme Court, was all White men. Imagine. America wasn’t all White men in 1981, or ever. Under President Biden and this Senate majority, we’re taking historic steps to make the courts look more like the country they serve by confirming highly qualified, diverse nominees.”
  • “Sorry that I misspoke earlier today,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “Of course, I remember the dedication and legal excellence that Thurgood Marshall brought to the Supreme Court.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Following Marshall’s retirement in 1991, he was replaced by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas who was nominated by Republican President George H. W. Bush.
  • Marshall was on the court in 1981 when Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, was nominated by Republican President Ronald Regan, and later confirmed. She served from 1981 – 2006, according to the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute.