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POTUS: A Black Woman On SCOTUS Is ‘Long Overdue’

POTUS: A Black Woman On SCOTUS Is ‘Long Overdue’


President Joe Biden strongly affirmed Thursday that he will nominate the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, declaring such historic representation is “long overdue” and promising to announce his choice by the end of February.

In a White House ceremony marking a moment of national transition, Biden praised retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who officially announced his retirement on Thursday. Breyer will have spent nearly 28 years on the high court by the time he leaves at the end of the term, as “a model public servant at a time of great division in this country,” said the President.

[Ketanji Brown Jackson]

The search for Breyer’s replacement was underway in full swing Thursday and continued into Friday. President Biden promised a nominee worthy of Breyer’s legacy and said he’d already been studying the backgrounds and writings of potential candidates. As a senator, the President spent years leading the Senate Judiciary Committee, making him very familiar with the nomination process, having overseen six Supreme Court confirmation hearings. One person who will be central to President Biden’s selection process is his Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, a former Supreme Court law clerk and chief counsel to the Judiciary Committee.

“I’ve made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be somebody of extraordinary qualifications, character, and integrity,” President Biden said. “And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It is long overdue.”

President Biden’s choice will be historic, as no Black woman has ever served on the high court. His decision is also coming at a critical time of national reckoning over race and gender inequality. While the President has made no mention of any intentions to expand the number of Justices who sit on the Supreme Court, critics have been calling for SCOTUS expansion in the wake of the unbalanced number of Trump-appointed conservative Justices who were all jammed through at the behest of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Early discussions about a successor are focusing on Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer clerk who has already met with the President. Other prominent names being considered are U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss White House deliberations. Jackson and Kruger have long been seen as possible nominees.


Republicans who changed the Senate rules during the Trump era to allow simple majority confirmation of Supreme Court nominees appear resigned to the outcome in the 50-50 split chamber. Now-Minority Leader McConnell said he hoped President Biden would not “outsource this important decision to the radical left.”


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