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White House announces Biden’s ‘historic’ Supreme Court nominee

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (Wikimedia Commons/Released)
February 25, 2022

The White House announced on Friday that President Joe Biden has chosen to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in what the administration characterized as a “historic” decision as the first black female to sit on the high court.

“A former clerk for Justice Breyer, Judge Jackson has broad experience across the legal profession – as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender,” the White House said in an email to American Military News. “Judge Jackson has been confirmed by the Senate with votes from Republicans as well as Democrats three times.” 

“Judge Jackson is an exceptionally qualified nominee as well as a historic nominee, and the Senate should move forward with a fair and timely hearing and confirmation,” the statement continued.

Jackson clerked under Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer after graduating from Harvard, and went on to serve as a federal judge in Washington, D.C. from 2013 to 2021. She previously served as a public defender and a U.S. Sentencing Commission lawyer, and has been confirmed by the Senate three separate times for her posts.

CNN reported that Biden vetted three women to potentially replace Justice Stephen Breyer after his plan to retire was first reported earlier this year.

Biden’s two other potential nominees were also black women: J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

“Since Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden has conducted a rigorous process to identify his replacement. President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law,” the White House statement read.

“He also sought a nominee—much like Justice Breyer—who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty. And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people.”

Andrew Bates, deputy White House press secretary, told NBC News on Tuesday that the president “continues to evaluate eminently qualified individuals in the mold of Justice Breyer who have the strongest records, intellect, character, and dedication to the rule of law that anyone could ask for.”

Bates added that all three nominees are “deserving of bipartisan support.”

In January, Biden once again vowed to nominate a black woman to the court after first promising to do so from the campaign trail in 2020.

“I’ve made no decision except (the) person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity,” Biden said in January, as reported by AFP. “And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”

Breyer, 83, is expected to remain on the court until the end of this term. Appointed by former President Bill Clinton, Breyer is one of three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, in addition to Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

In August 2021, Breyer told The New York Times that he was considering retiring from the court and asserted that “there are many things that go into a retirement decision,” including who his replacement could be.

Breyer also said it is wrong to consider the Supreme Court “another political institution” while speaking at Harvard Law School last year.

“It is wrong to think of the court as another political institution,” Breyer said at the time. “It is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”

“If the public sees judges as ‘politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches,” he warned.