After Breyer’s Retirement Announcement Biden Expected To Nominate First Black Woman To Supreme Court

© AP Photo / Jose Luis MaganaThe US Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 30, 2021
The US Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2022
Justice Stephen Breyer has announced plans for his retirement, prompting President Biden to make good on one of his key campaign promises: nominating the first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. Speculation over who he will choose has already begun.
Democrats have been lobbying for the most senior member of the U.S. Supreme Court’s liberal wing to step down while they still hold a majority in the Senate. President Biden has repeatedly vowed to fill his seat with the first Black female justice. And with that, media outlets have begun theorizing who the president will pick.
The top candidate is heavily rumored to be Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was tapped by President Biden for the federal judiciary and is considered to be a frontrunner for the Supreme Court. Jackson is 51 years-old and was Biden’s first nominee to the U.S. appellate courts, filling a seat which was left vacant by Attorney General Merrick Garland last summer.
Serving on what is considered to be the country’s second most powerful court, as well as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court, Jackson previously clerked for potential predecessor Justice Breyer from 1999 to 2000. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and before her confirmation to the District of Columbia Circuit, worked as a U.S. district judge in D.C. and Vice Chair of the Sentencing Commission.
Former Congressman and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced Jackson to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2012. “Our politics may differ, but my praise for Kentanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, is unequivocal. She is an amazing person,” he said of her. Ryan and Jackson are related by marriage.
The runner-up in the prediction list for potential picks is California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. Kruger, 45, has been on California’s highest court since 2014, first nominated to the court by former Governor Jerry Brown. She clerked for former Justice John Paul Stevens and is a Yale Law graduate.
Judge J. Michelle Childs is another possibility. Childs, 55, served on the U.S. district court in South Carolina since 2010, before being formally nominated to the D.C. Circuit by President Biden earlier this month. Childs graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and if nominated, would be one of only two on the Supreme Court who did not attend Harvard or Yale for their education. The other is Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School.
Childs has been shown open support by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a Democrat who is currently the highest-ranking Black individual in Congress. He reportedly will be pushing President Biden to choose Childs as a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Finally, we have Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, who worked from 2010 to 2020 as a staff attorney in the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois, representing more than four hundred destitute clients accused of federal crimes.
Jackson-Akiwumi was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit in June, and like Jackson, had support from three Republicans. With that confirmation, she became the first judge in the Seventh Circuit with a background as a public defender. She is a Yale Law graduate.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was first nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and has worked to uphold women’s rights, as well as preserving the Affordable Care Act. But with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Democrats and lawmakers have been pleading with the 83 year-old to step down while Democrats still hold the Senate majority.
They don’t want a repeat of history: the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declined to step down during President Obama’s term, and her death then left a vacant seat which was filled by President Donald Trump’s nomination of the conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett. The nomination under President Trump has lead to bizarre and unconstitutional laws regarding abortion rights to pass in certain U.S. states like Texas and Mississippi, leading to a challenge against Roe v. Wade.
If one of these women is nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, it would be a groundbreaking moment in U.S. history. Black women are not only underrepresented on the Supreme Court but on the federal bench, as well. When Biden first took office, only five of 300 sitting federal appellate judges were Black women. Biden has since doubled that number.
"The president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and certainly stands by that," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
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