U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was at the center of political news on Wednesday following a report that he will soon be retiring from the bench.
The revelation sparked speculation regarding President Joe Biden’s choice to replace him — and it appears he is prepared to stand by his campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman.
“Stated and reiterated his commitment”
According to the Washington Examiner, the White House did not go into detail about the selection process but reiterated the president’s promise.
The Associated Press reported that Biden and Breyer are expected to make a formal announcement about the latter’s retirement at an event this week.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fielded a question about the situation and remarked that Biden has “stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court and certainly stands by that for today.”
In February 2020, then-candidate Biden said he would be “honored” to appoint the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
The pledge is in keeping with his administration’s policy of pursuing so-called equity, which has also seen the federal government prioritize the allocation of COVID-19 relief money and even medical treatments based on race.
“We don’t know who the nominee is yet”
Thus far, 80% of the confirmed judges nominated by Biden have been women — and the majority have been racial minorities.
Although the president has not offered any insight into his selection process, some potential candidates apparently include U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.
Of course, Biden’s pick will not alter the court’s current 6–3 conservative majority. Nevertheless, many court watchers believe he will choose someone to the ideological left of the retiring progressive justice.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asserted that he would take up Biden’s nominee “with all deliberate speed” — and his party will be able to confirm the nominee without any GOP votes thanks to the so-called nuclear option invoked by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to confirm former President Donald Trump’s judicial picks.
Now, McConnell seems to be playing coy as he leads the minority party in the chamber, explaining: “We don’t know who the nominee is yet.”