President Joe Biden is eyeing at least three justices for an expected vacancy on the Supreme Court, as he quickly finishes his campaign pledge to nominate the first black woman to the nation’s highest court, according to aides and aides. ready to complete.
According to four people familiar with the case who spoke on condition, with Justice Stephen Breyer planning to retire, initial discussions about a successor were held by US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, US District Judge J.J. Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. of anonymity to discuss White House deliberations. Jackson and Kruger have long been seen as potential candidates.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, he has focused on nominating a diverse group of judges to federal benches, installing five black women on federal appeals courts, with three more nominations pending before the Senate. . Other potential candidates for the high court could come from within that group, Biden aides and aides said, especially since nearly all of the Supreme Court candidates until recently have been federal appeals justices.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said, “They have a strong pool to select a candidate, among other sources. This is a historic opportunity to hire someone with a strong record on civil and human rights.”
By the end of his first year, Biden had won the confirmation of 40 judges, the most since President Ronald Reagan. Of those, 80’37 are women and 53’37 are people of color, according to the White House.
Jackson, 51, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a district court judge. Biden promoted him to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Early in her career, she was also a law clerk for Breuer.
A federal judge in South Carolina, Childs has been nominated but has not yet been confirmed to serve on the same circuit court. His name has surfaced partly because he is a favorite among some high-profile lawmakers, including Rep. James Clyburn, D.S.C.
A graduate of Harvard and Yale’s law schools, Kruger was previously a clerk on the Supreme Court and argued a dozen cases before judges as an attorney for the federal government.
Breyer, 83, will retire at the end of the summer, according to two sources who confirmed the news to the Associated Press on Wednesday. He spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to undo Breyer’s formal announcement.
But the Senate can confirm a successor before a formal vacancy occurs, so the White House was getting the job done and it was expected to take at least a few weeks to formalize the nomination.
Biden said Wednesday that he would not go ahead with Breyer’s announcement.
“Every justice should have the opportunity to decide what he or she is going to do and announce it himself,” Biden said. Later.”
When Biden was running for the White House, he said that if he had a chance to nominate someone to court, he would make history by electing a black woman. And he has repeated that vow ever since.
“As president, I will be honored, honored, to be appointed the first African American woman. Because this is what the country should look like. That’s too long,” Biden said in February 2020, shortly before South Carolina’s presidential primary last state.
Adding a black woman to the court would mean a series of first, four female judges and two black judges at the same time in a nine-member court. Justice Clarence Thomas is the only black justice on the court and the second justice ever to serve after Thurgood Marshall.
And Biden will have a chance to show black voters increasingly disillusioned with a president he helped elect that he is serious about their concerns, especially when he is unable to move through voting rights legislation. are.
At the same time, the ideological character of the Court would not be changed by a more liberal justice in place of Breuer. The Conservatives overtook the Liberals 6-3, and three of Donald Trump’s nominees made the already conservative court even more conservative.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., said Biden’s nominee would “get an expedited hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed.”
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