With Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement pending, President Joe Biden now has his eye on a few lucky candidates who could potentially fill the Supreme Court Justice’s seat, including U.S. Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Biden promised to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court during his administration and if Judge Jackson wins, she would become the first Black woman to be nominated and selected to serve the nation’s highest court. She’s a strong contender too. The Harvard law graduate was sworn into the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia back in June 2021, by a whopping 53-44 vote due to large support from Biden and the Democrats, according to CNBC News. Prior to her position in the D.C. Circuit, the 51-year-old previously worked as a public defender, and in 2009, former President Barack Obama appointed Jackson as vice-chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. She has also clerked on the Supreme Court, including for Breyer.
It could be an easy win for Jackson, given that the Democrats would only need 50 votes to confirm a new justice and they already seem to be fond of the judge’s hefty professional track record.
Other candidates being considered for the big position are U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, Minnesota District Court Judge Wilhelmina Wright, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi of the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger among others.
The news comes after Biden set a new record last year, becoming the first President since Reagan to confirm the most judges during his first year in office. Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pledged to diversify the judiciary process with candidates from different ethnic backgrounds. In addition to Jackson, several other Black women were elected to serve in the federal system. Back in August 2021, former patent attorney, Tiffany Cunningham, was selected to serve as a United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals representing the Federal Circuit. Candace Jackson-Akiwumi was sworn into the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals in July 2021.
Biden’s diverse judicial roster also includes Florence Pan, who made history as the first Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C., and the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland. Back in June, Zahid Quraish became the first Muslim American federal judge under Biden’s legislative plea.
“This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession,” the 79-year-old President said about the historic move in a statement on the White House’s official website. “Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”
Women now make up 80 percent of Biden’s judiciary team, while 53 percent are people of color, the White House added.