- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2022

President Biden on Thursday reaffirmed his vow to make history by nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court and promised to announce his choice by the end of February.

Mr. Biden doubled down on the campaign promise to put the first Black woman on the high court during a White House event to mark the retirement announcement by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who will step down at the end of the court‘s current term.

“I’ve made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character experience, and integrity,” Mr. Biden said. “And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue, in my view. I made that commitment during my campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”

Mr. Biden said he would consult with senators from both parties, leading scholars, and Vice President Kamala Harris before picking a nominee.

He said the selection process will be rigorous.

“I will listen carefully to all the advice I’m given, and I’ll study the records and former cases carefully,” the president said. “I’ll meet with the potential nominees, and it is my intention — my intention — to announce my decision before the end of February. I have made no choice at this point.”

SEE ALSO: Biden eyes long list of Black female candidates to fill Supreme Court vacancy

“Once I select a nominee, I will ask the Senate to move promptly on my choice,” he continued. “In the end, I will nominate a historic candidate, someone who’s worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy.”

Mr. Biden is rushing to get the nominee confirmed before the November midterm election while Democrats control the Senate that’s split 50-50 between the parties.

Democrats could pass Mr. Biden‘s nominee without a single Republican vote due to a 2017 rule change under then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. The change lowered the threshold to break the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51 votes.

Justice Breyer confirmed his retirement at the White House ceremony. He plans to step down once the Supreme Court‘s current term concludes this summer and his successor has been confirmed by the Senate.

Top candidates to replace Justice Breyer include federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was confirmed in June to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

Other likely contenders for the lifetime appointment: U.S. District Judges J. Michelle Childs (South Carolina), Wilhelmina Wright (Minnesota) and Leslie Abrams Gardner (Georgia), and Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

SEE ALSO: Biden hails Breyer, retiring liberal justice, as ‘model public servant’

Senate Democrats have vowed a swift confirmation process to ensure Mr. Biden can get his successor through while they still control the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Wednesday that the president’s pick will be confirmed with “all deliberate speed.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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