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Biden Supreme Court pick: What to watch


President Joe Biden

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Justice Stephen Breyer’s impending retirement gives President Joe Biden his first, and possibly his best, chance to fill a seat on the Supreme Court. It’s clear he wants to make it count.

Biden last week reaffirmed his campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the high court and said he intends to announce his selection by the end of February.

He and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have both vowed to move quickly to replace Breyer, likely aiming for a new justice to be appointed well before the court’s summer recess.

The White House said Monday that Biden will begin consultations this week with potential nominees to succeed the 83-year-old justice. Some of the likely top contenders include Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Judge J. Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

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If they nail the timing and execution, Democrats could score a major political win — appointing the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court, while protecting a liberal seat — that pays dividends a few months later in the midterm elections.

They need all the help they can get. A sitting president’s party typically loses seats in the midterms, and Biden’s sagging approval ratings have boosted Republicans’ confidence that they will at least regain the House, if not the Senate as well.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, is sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 28, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

A loaded schedule

Potential choices

Since 1789, there have been 164 Supreme Court nominations. The overwhelming majority have been white men.

The White House has suggested that Biden is considering a wide crop of potential nominees, though no official list has been released. More than a dozen names of Black female judges have already cycled through the political rumor mill as likely short-listers for the Supreme Court.

Among the buzziest would-be…


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