Update: After Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced this week he'd be stepping down from the bench, President Biden confirmed he would, per a campaign promise, be nominating a Black woman "of extraordinary qualifications." Now, a first name on that short list has emerged: J. Michelle Childs, 55, a US District Court judge in South Carolina, reports the Washington Post. Childs was set to have a confirmation hearing Thursday on her nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, but that hearing was postponed. When the Post reached out to the White House, spokesman Andrew Bates verified Childs is "among multiple individuals under consideration for the Supreme Court." Bates added that media reports suggesting Biden is only seriously mulling over three potential nominees—DC Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger have been named as other top contenders—"is incorrect." More on Childs here. Our original story from Thursday follows:
Stephen Breyer made official on Thursday what the world already knew: The 83-year-old is retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term. “I enormously appreciate the privilege of serving as part of the federal judicial system,” Breyer wrote in a short letter of resignation to President Biden, per CNN. “I have found the work challenging and meaningful. My relations with each of my colleagues have been warm and friendly. Throughout, I have been aware of the great honor of participating as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the rule of law.” Biden, meanwhile, reiterated that he plans to nominate the first Black female to the court, notes the AP:
- Biden: "Our process is going to be rigorous," Biden said at the White House. "The person I will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court."
- Biden, II: "In 1994, I got to preside as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee over his Supreme Court confirmation hearings," said the president. "We were joking with one another when he walked in. Did we ever think he'd have served decades on the court and I'd be President of the United States the day he came in to retire? ... I won't say what he said, I'm joking, but I was proud and grateful to be there at the start of his distinguished career on the Supreme Court and I'm very proud to be here on the announcement of his retirement."
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