Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s retirement could pave the way for President Biden to put Vice President Kamala Harris on the nation’s highest court.
Mr. Biden pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign that he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court if a seat opened during his tenure.
One enticing candidate would be Ms. Harris. By nominating her, Mr. Biden could both fulfill his campaign pledge and find a graceful way to remove her from the 2024 Democratic ticket.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday pushed back on the idea Mr. Biden could select Ms. Harris.
“The president has every intention of running for reelection and running for reelection with Vice President Harris on the ticket as his partner,” she said.
Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law, said Ms. Harris would be unlikely pick because of the vice president’s role to break ties in the evenly-divided Senate.
SEE ALSO: Psaki: Biden stands by pledge to nominate first Black woman to Supreme Court
If she’s put on the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans could block Mr. Biden‘s vice president nominee because Democrats wouldn’t have her vote to break the tie.
“The problem with Kamala Harris is that once you appoint her, you lose the Senate,” Mr. Blackman said.
There is nothing in the Constitution that blocks a sitting vice president from being nominated to the Supreme Court. The only restrictions to being nominated to the high court is having an impeachment or conviction that bars an individual from holding federal office.
However, Ms. Harris wouldn’t be allowed to serve double duty and would have to resign as vice president.
Neither a sitting vice president nor a past vice president has ever been nominated to the Supreme Court.
For Mr. Biden and Democrats, such a move could eliminate questions about Ms. Harris’ low poll numbers and allegations of a toxic work environment in her office.
SEE ALSO: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer set to retire
Rumors have been flying since the summer of dysfunction and frustration among Ms. Harris’ staff.
At least three high-profile aides have left the vice president’s office in the past three months.
Ms. Harris has the legal experience, serving as California’s attorney general before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Nominating her to the Supreme Court could help Mr. Biden rally with Black voters, while simultaneously jettisoning her from the ticket.