Biden’s Top-Picks For Supreme Court Justice

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s who Biden is considering…

As reports circulate that Justice Stephen Beyer will announce his retirement in the very near future, President Joe Biden will be presented with the first opportunity to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court. Given Beyer’s 83 years old, it’s also an opportunity for Democrats to get a young, liberal justice to the bench, diversifying it.

However, Biden may have other prerequisites to fulfill the role of Supreme Court Justice.

In Biden’s 2020 campaign, he promised to appoint the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Many Democrats have remembered this pledge and are pressuring Biden to follow through.

These are some of the names that many believe Biden is considering replacing Beyer.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Seen as a front runner, Jackson was first considered to serve on the Supreme Court in 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

However, it’s her bipartisan support that makes her a plausible candidate.

In June of last year, the Senate confirmed the 51-year-old Jackson would serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 53-44 vote. All Senate Democrats voted for Jackson along with three GOP senators: Lisa Murkowski (Maine), Linsey Graham (S.C.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

Leondra Kruger

Kruger currently serves on the California Supreme Court, a role she was appointed to by former Governor Jerry Brown (D) in 2014. If she is nominated and confirmed, she would be the youngest Justice on the bench, at only 45 years old.

However, this is not the first-time Kruger’s name has come up to take a prominent role during Biden’s administration. In December 2020, Kruger’s name popped up in progressive groups, as Biden had to appoint a solicitor general, and progressives urged him to name a Black woman.

J. Michelle Childs

One month ago, Biden nominated Childs, 55, to the Court of Appeals on the D.C. Circuit following her serving as a federal district court judge in South Carolina.

While her nomination is pending, Childs’ name has cropped up as a contender for Beyer’s seat, along with the vocal support of the No.3 House Democrat –– Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

According to a report by the New York Times released last year, Clyburn has been supporting Childs as a possible high court nominee for some time, applauding her blue-collar roots, and her college education –– graduating from the University of South Carolina’s law school as opposed to the Ivy League-dominated bench.

At the time, Clyburn told the Times that Childs “is the kind of person who has the sort of experiences that would make her a good addition to the Supreme Court.”

Yet, her background as a white-collar lawyer defending employers in workplace suits could be damaging to Biden’s history of elevating judicial nominees that have backgrounds as civil rights attorneys and public defenders.

Sherrilyn Ifill

Ifill, 59, has been the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for almost a decade, but announced in November 2021 she would be stepping down from the role this spring.

For progressive advocates, Ifill is the kind of nominee Biden needs to add professional diversity to the bench as she has been a vocal and influential supporter on critical Democratic issues, the recent examples being voting rights and diversity training.

But, Ifill is unlikely to be a frontrunner as she has not been through a Senate confirmation hearing, and Democrats are unlikely to take the risk given the Senate’s narrow division.

These aren’t the only Black women who have made it onto the list, there are whispers that Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi and Circuit Judge Eunice Lee names have also been mentioned as potential candidates. These women tick the boxes, adding professional diversity and being Biden’s promised woman of color.