OPINION: Who will President Biden nominate to the Supreme Court?

(Archive photo by Cooper Kinley | Collegian Media Group)

Judge Stephen Breyer’s recent retirement from the Supreme Court has allowed President Joe Biden to select a new judge to serve on the nation’s highest court.

During his campaign, Biden promised to nominate the first African-American woman to the Court. So far, it looks like he’s going to follow through on that promise. Several names are being considered for this nomination, but three stand out in this process. Let’s take a look at their backgrounds.

Ketanji Brown Jackson:

Jackson seems like the most likely candidate to receive the nomination. With the backing of the liberal wing of the Democrat party, Jackson has endeared herself to that wing of the party because of her years as a public defender, according to NBC News.

In June 2021, Jackson was confirmed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is considered the second-highest-ranking court in the nation.

While she was narrowly confirmed, 53-44 according to the U.S. Senate website, she has a polished resume, working as a law clerk for three judges — including Breyer — and also working as the editor for the Harvard Law Review. She is currently on the Harvard Board of Overseers.

In 2019, Jackson most famously ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with a congressional subpoena during the impeachment inquiry of former President Donald Trump. In her ruling, she wrote, “presidents are not kings,” as reported by The New York Times.

The problem with Jackson is she is viewed as more liberal than some of the other candidates, and her chance of being confirmed might be prevented if Republicans and some moderate Democrats join in opposition to her nomination.

J. Michelle Childs:

Childs is seen as more of a pragmatic jurist and could receive bipartisan support in the Senate if she is nominated. Childs serves on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, a position she has held since 2010.

Childs is seen as a “safe” pick among pundits and establishment politicians. However, progressives have noted their opposition to Childs because she has worked previously for a corporate law firm according to a recent article from Politico.

Despite that, some Republicans, such as South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have shown support for Childs, according to a report from CBS.

“I can’t think of a better person that President Biden could consider for the Supreme Court,” Graham said on Face the Nation at the end of January. “She has wide support in our state. She is considered to be a fair-minded, highly gifted jurist.”

Childs is likely a safe pick here for a bipartisan confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. However, this could lead to issues for the liberal wing of the party.

Leondra Kruger:

Kruger is an associate justice of the California Supreme Court, a position she has held since 2015. She was formerly the acting Principal Deputy Solicitor General to the United States from 2010-11.

Kruger has been seen as a key swing vote on the California Supreme Court and could be another jurist who might receive bipartisan support, according to the Alliance for Justice fact sheet on Kruger.

Kruger was the first Black woman editor in chief for the Yale Law Journal and later represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court after clerking for the Court for a few years.

The most notable case she argued before the court was the famous case on the Affordable Care Act back in 2012.

Kruger has been considered by many as a prepared and attentive judge during oral arguments and has only missed one oral argument in all her years on the California Supreme Court.

Her credentials are impressive despite not having as much name recognition as Jackson and Childs. She could be a wild card pick and a surprise, especially since Jackson or Childs seem the most likely to be selected for that position.