Biden’s Potential African American Female Candidates for the US Supreme Court

After 28 years, United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement at the White House on January 27. Breyer is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court, and at 83 years old, he is one of the remaining three liberal justices who have served. He plans to retire at the end of the current term in June 2022, according to Microsoft News. This announcement poses the question of who will take his place on the bench.

On the 2020 Presidential campaign trail, Joe Biden vowed to make history and elect the first-ever African American female to the Supreme Court if elected. Now that the time has come, Biden still stands by his pledge. “I think we should have every shape, size, and color on the Supreme Court to represent everyone in this country. So I think it is a great idea, as long as that person has the right credentials to get into the Supreme Court,” said freshman Jane Kelly. On the other hand, freshman Gael River said, “With anything that has to do with feminism, it’s a good thing that [President Biden] wants to have that happen, but I feel as a main goal that shouldn’t be the most important thing right now because there is stuff happening in the world that I believe is slightly more important or as important than having the first colored female on the Supreme Court.”

There is already speculation around who Biden’s top candidates are. According to the January 28 CNN “10 for 10” news program, top candidates may be Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger, Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright, Sherrilyn Ifill, Eunice Lee, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, and  J. Michelle Childs. These potential nominees were narrowed down to Brown Jackson, Kruger, Childs in a Washington Post opinion article entitled, “Earth to GOP: All of Biden’s Top Supreme Court Candidates Are Qualified.”

Brown Jackson, age 51, is an attorney and jurist who served as a district judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. She was appointed by former 44th President Barack Obama to the federal court in 2013, and then appointed as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021 by President Biden. Jackson attended Harvard University for her undergraduate and degrees. She served as an editor on the Harvard Law Review, as well as a staff reporter and researcher for Time magazine from 1992 to 1993. Most recently, according to a CNN Politics article entitled “Kentaji Brown Jackson: The Personal and Legal Record of the Front-runner for the SCOTUS Post,” it talked about how she voted against former-President Donald Trump when his representatives sought to conceal records from the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot. Jackson instead voted for Biden’s eviction moratorium to remain in place, which came about during the pandemic. Another case was when she ruled against the Trump administration in their efforts to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying as part of the Congress’ impeachment probe. She had said “presidents are not kings” and added that the Trump administration’s assertion had “absolute testimonial value [and it] is a proposition that cannot be squared with core constitutional values.” The article said, “While on the district court, Jackson penned more than 500 opinions.” She is married to surgeon Patrick G. Jackson and has two daughters.

Kruger, age 45, is a judge who has been serving as a California Supreme Court Justice since 2015. She was appointed by the former 34th and 39th Governor of California, Jerry Brown. Kruger holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale Law School. She was the first Black woman to serve as the editor in chief for the Yale Law Journal. Prior to her federal clerkships, Kruger worked at the Jenner and Block law firm in Washington, D.C. She worked on the cases Hargrave v. Vermont, Price v. Phillip Morris Inc., Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, and Veith v. Pennsylvania, which was “[the] notable challenge to partisan gerrymandering that ultimately made its way to the Supreme Court,” as mentioned on an Alliance for Justice ( fact sheet. Kruger most famously played part in defending the landmark case Affordable Care Act, National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius. She became a deputy assistant attorney general at the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2013.  Kruger is married to Brian Hauck, a partner at the Jenner and Block law firm, and has two children. A fun fact about Kruger is that she was the first member of the California Supreme Court to give birth while serving.

Childs, age 55, is a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, serving since 2010. She also served as a state circuit court judge in Columbia, South Carolina. She was appointed by former-President Barack Obama. In 2000, Childs became the first African American partner at the Nexsun Pruet law firm in Columbia, South Carolina. Childs attended the University of South Florida, University of South Carolina School of Law, University of South Carolina School of Business, and Duke University School of Law. In 2015, two women sued the former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley over banning same-sex marriages. Childs had sided with the women, “ruling the state ban on gay marriage violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of due process and equal protection,” based on an article published by USA Today  titled “Who Is Judge J. Michelle Childs? For Starters, She Anticipated the Supreme Court on Same-sex Marriage.” Her ruling then invalidated similar bans in other states. She was also an acting justice in the case McCrea v. Gheraibeh, ”a civil lawsuit involving an attorney who exercised a peremptory strike against a Black juror because of “uneasiness” over the juror’s dreadlocks,” as repported by the Alliance for Justice’s fact sheet on the judge. Childs is married to Doctor Floyd Angus and has one daughter.

These are some of the potential candidates to fill Justice Breyer’s place. They all have backgrounds serving in their respective state,s and have procured degrees from prestigious institutions. Biden has yet to release information on whom he is considering. “I think it is great that he is promoting [Black] people to get into the Supreme Court. It goes to prove that it doesn’t matter what you look like, but what you’ll do for the country that is important, “ said senior Patrick LaBarbera.