WASHINGTON (AP), — Thursday’s meeting between President Joe Biden and retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer will be held at the White House. They will praise his long Supreme Court career and officially announce Breyer’s retirement.
Two days after Breyer’s retirement announcement, the two will deliver remarks in Roosevelt Room. It was official when he received his retirement letter from the Supreme Court just hours before they were due to meet.
As he works to fulfill his campaign promise to nominate the first Black woman on the nation’s highest judiciary, the president is currently considering at least three Supreme Court judges.
Biden has been focusing on the nomination of diverse judges to the federal bench since he took office in January 2021. This is not only in terms of their race, but also their professional expertise. Five Black women were appointed to federal appeals courts by Biden. Three more nominations are currently pending before Congress. Their experience ranges from federal defense to civil rights work.
Biden had already been confirmed by 40 judges within his first year. This was the most since President Ronald Reagan. According to the White House, 80% of those are women, and 53% are people who are not white.
The court’s ideological makeup would not be affected by Breyer’s replacement with another liberal justice. Conservatives have a 6-3 advantage over liberals, and Donald Trump’s three nominees push the court further to the right
U.S. is the focus of early discussions regarding a successor. According to sources familiar with the matter, Circuit Judge Ketanji brown Jackson, U.S. district Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger are being discussed early in discussions about a successor. Jackson and Kruger are long considered possible nominees.
“He has a strong pool from which to choose a candidate, as well as other sources. It is a historic opportunity to appoint someone who has a strong record in civil and human rights,” stated Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP.
President Barack Obama nominated Jackson, 51, to serve as a judge in the district court. Biden elevated Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. She was also a Breyer law clerk early in her career. Biden met her before, and interviewed her for the current position.
Childs, a South Carolina federal judge, was nominated, but she has not been confirmed to the same circuit court. Because she is a favourite among high-profile lawmakers like Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), her name has been recalled.
Kruger is a Harvard graduate and Yale law school alumnus. He was previously a Supreme Court clerk, and has argued over a dozen cases as a federal lawyer.
Sources confirmed to The Associated Press Wednesday that Breyer, 83 years old, will be retiring at the end of this summer. They spoke under condition of anonymity to avoid prejudging Breyer’s official announcement.
The Senate can confirm a replacement before there is a formal vacant position, so the White House gets to work. It will likely take at most a few more weeks before formalizing a nomination.
Biden stated that he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court if given the opportunity to do so when he was running for the White House. He has reaffirmed that promise every since.
“As president, it would be an honor, an honor, to appoint the first African American women. Because it should be like the country. It’s been a long time,” Biden stated in February 2020, shortly before South Carolina’s presidential primaries.
The court’s addition of a Black woman would be a series firsts: four women justices and two Black justices will serve simultaneously on the nine-member court. Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s sole Black justice, is only the second Black justice after Thurgood Marshall.
Biden could also show Black voters, who are growing frustrated at a president they voted for, that he cares about their concerns after he was unable to pass voting rights legislation.
Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Biden’s nominee would receive a prompt hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be reviewed and confirmed by the entire United States Senate with all due speed.
Republicans are still upset by Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 contentious hearing. Still, Democrats still have the necessary 50 votes and a tiebreaker in Vice-President Kamala Harris to confirm a nominee.
The outcome was accepted by Republicans who, during Trump’s era, changed Senate rules to allow nominations to be confirmed by simple majority. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is an influential member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said that if all Democrats hold together, which I believe they will, they can replace Justice Breyer 2022 without one Republican vote.
However, Democrats were unable to get all of their members to support Biden’s social- and environmental spending agenda, or move forward with a vote rights bill.
Biden was a senator and chaired the Judiciary Committee. He oversaw six Supreme Court confirmation hearings, including Breyer’s, from 1987 to 1995.
Ron Klain, former Supreme Court law clerk who was also chief counsel to the Judiciary Committee, will play a central role in Biden’s transition.
Biden could also pick someone who isn’t currently a judge. However, that seems less likely. Sherrilyn Ifill (59), is one candidate. She has been the head of the fund since 2013, and she has announced her intention to step down in spring.
Since 2010, Obama appointed Justice Elena Kagan as the replacement for retiring John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court. Kagan was joined by Obama’s second nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She is the court’s first Latina judge and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Eight days after Ginsburg’s death in September 2020, Trump announced that he had chosen Amy Coney Barrett.