Declaring his intention to make good on a campaign promise to put a Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, President Joe Biden is now mulling prospective nominees to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, and some of the jurists reportedly on his short list are raising eyebrows due their well-known – some might say radical – political leanings.
In a joint Thursday appearance with Breyer, Biden offered words of praise and gratitude for the departing justice before offering some insight about his plans for the soon-to-be vacant seat at the high court.
With the president having significantly narrowed the filed of potential nominees with exclusionary race and gender criteria, speculation has turned to those likely to already be on his Supreme Court short list, with a handful of names already rising to the top.
One of the rumored front runners for Breyer’s spot on the bench is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who, when appearing before the Senate Judiciary prior to her confirmation in that role, indicated that she viewed her race as something that would add “value,” given that she has “experienced life in perhaps a different way than some of my colleges because of who I am.”
Jackson has also taken part in multiple rulings against former President Donald Trump’s administration and has a history of political activism in that she served as a lawyer and poll watcher during former President Barack Obama’s first White House run, a campaign to which she made financial contributions as well.
Speculation has also surrounded the possible nomination of former president and co-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, someone who has a notable record as an outspoken partisan, recently expressing support for a Biden speech in which he analogized opponents of Democrat-backed election overhaul bills to segregationists.
Another name that has surfaced this week as a potential nominee is that of federal district judge J. Michelle Childs, a candidate championed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who believes she would have the ability to win Republican votes in the conformation process, but whose background as a white-collar defense lawyer could ruffle progressive feathers, as The Hill noted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued words of caution to Biden in the aftermath of his appearance with Breyer and underscored the 50-50 split in the upper chamber that could potentially complicate the confirmation process if an especially radical nominee is put forth, saying:
Looking ahead – the American people elected a Senate that is evenly split at 50-50. To the degree that President Biden received a mandate, it was to govern from the middle, steward our institutions, and united America.
“The President must not outsource this important decision to the radical left. The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution,” the longtime GOP leader added, but considering that such delegation has been the hallmark of Biden’s administration thus far, it seems unlikely this situation will be any different.