According to aides and friends, US President Joe Biden is considering at least three justices for an impending vacancy on the Supreme Court as he prepares to rapidly fulfill his campaign commitment to appoint the nation’s first Black woman to the nation’s top court.
According to a source briefed on the preparations who was not permitted to publicly discuss it in advance, Biden and Justice Stephen Breyer are set to have a ceremony at the White House on Thursday to formally announce Breyer’s decision to retire.
According to four people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss White House deliberations, early discussions about a successor are focusing on US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, US District Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. Jackson and Kruger have long been considered potential possibilities.
Since taking office in January 2021, Biden has prioritized the nomination of a diverse group of judges to the federal bench, including the appointment of five Black women to federal appeals courts, with three more nominees pending before the Senate. Other probable Supreme Court nominations might emerge from that group, according to Biden aides and friends, especially because virtually all of the previous Supreme Court nominees have been federal appeals court judges.
“In addition to other sources, he has a solid pool from which to choose a candidate.” “This is a historic chance to select someone with a good record on civil and human rights,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson.
Biden had secured the confirmation of 40 judges at the conclusion of his first year, the most since President Ronald Reagan. According to the White House, 80 percent of those are women and 53 percent are persons of color.
President Barack Obama nominated Jackson, 51, to be a district court judge. Biden appointed her to the District of Columbia Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. She also worked as a law clerk for Breyer early in her career.
Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina, has been nominated but has yet to be confirmed to the same circuit court. Her name has come up in part because she is a favorite of certain high-profile congressmen, notably Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina.
Kruger, a Harvard and Yale law school graduate, formerly worked as a Supreme Court clerk and has argued a dozen issues before the justices as a federal government lawyer.
According to two individuals who verified the news to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Breyer, 83, will retire at the end of the summer. They spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid pre-empting Breyer’s public pronouncement.
However, the Senate may approve a replacement before there is a formal vacancy, so the White House was starting to work, and a nominee was likely to take at least a few weeks.
Biden stated on Wednesday that he would not preempt Breyer’s statement.
“Every justice should be able to decide what he or she is going to do and announce it on his or her own,” Biden said. “Let him make whatever comment he wants, and I’ll be delighted to discuss it later.”
When Biden was campaigning for President, he stated that if he had the opportunity to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, he would make history by selecting a Black woman. And he’s said it again.
“I’d be honored, honored to appoint the first African American woman as president.” Because it should have the appearance of the nation. “It’s far past time,” Biden stated in February 2020, just before the South Carolina presidential primary.
Adding a Black woman to the court would mark a succession of firsts, with four female justices and two Black justices serving on the nine-member court at the same time. Justice Clarence Thomas is the court’s only Black justice, and just the second in history, following Thurgood Marshall.
And Biden would have the opportunity to demonstrate to Black voters who are growing dissatisfied with a president they helped elect that he is serious about their problems, especially because he has been unable to pass voting rights legislation.
At the same time, Breyer’s replacement by another liberal justice would not change the ideological makeup of the court. Conservatives outnumber liberals by 6-3, and Donald Trump’s three nominees made an already conservative court even more conservative.