Joe Biden Confirms He Will Appoint a Black Woman to the Supreme Court

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
joe biden Supreme Court
Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden has announced that he’ll nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court. The moment will be historic.

President Joe Biden has a big decision to make. On Wednesday morning (Jan. 26th), liberal judge Stephen Breyer, who’s served on the bench for 28 years, announced that he was retiring. This gives Biden the opportunity to appoint his first (and probably only) U.S. Supreme Court judge. During the 2020 campaign trail, Biden said that he would make the Supreme Court more diverse, starting with putting a Black woman on the court, in what would be a historic first.

“I am committed that if I’m elected president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I’ll appoint the first Black woman to the courts,” Biden said during a March 2020 democratic presidential debate. “It’s required that they have representation now. It’s long overdue.”

(Biden’s words came 40 years after former President Ronald Reagan appointed the first woman to serve on the courts, Sandra Day O’Connor.)

On Thursday, January 27th, Biden took his promise one step further and made an announcement on Twitter that he is committed to picking a Black women.

“The person I nominate to replace Justice Breyer will be someone with extraordinary qualifications. Character, experience, and integrity. And they will be the first Black woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” he wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed he will support moving Biden’s nominee quickly. “The nominee will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed,” he said in a statement.

 

According to CNN, there is now a shortlist of potential nominees; DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, South Carolina US District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs, Minnesota District Judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright, New York Circuit Judge Eunice Lee, Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, and Civil Rights Attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.

No African-American woman has ever been nominated to the Supreme Court. Since 1789, the highest court in the land has only featured two African-American men (Clarence Thomas and the late Thurgood Marshall).

At 83-years-old, current Liberal Associate Justice Stephen Breyer is the oldest member of the Supreme Court. Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton after Justice Harry Blackmun vacated his seat.

This story was updated on January 27th, 2022.

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