WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday affirmed his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying it was “long overdue.” He praised retiring Justice Stephen Breyer as a model public servant and promised a nominee by the end of February.
Breyer joined Biden at the White House, a day after news broke of the 83-year-old’s upcoming retirement.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, he has focused on nominating a diverse group of judges to the federal bench, not just in race but also in professional expertise. He installed five Black women on federal appeals courts, with three more nominations pending before the Senate.
Biden has already met personally with at least one top nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, Breyer’s former clerk worked at the U.S. Sentencing Commission and has been a federal trial court judge since 2013 in the District of Columbia. The two met when Biden interviewed her for her current post as an appeals court judge in the D.C. circuit, where she has served since last June.
Early discussions about a successor are focusing on Brown Jackson, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss White House deliberations. Jackson and Kruger have long been seen as possible nominees.