Biden has pledged to nominate a Black woman to the nation’s high court
The president told NBC News that potential candidates on his shortlist of nominees are “incredibly well-qualified and documented.”
“They were the honor students, they come from the best universities, they have experience, some on the bench, some in the practice of law,” he said in an interview set to air in part on 10 February.
He is expected to name his nominee by the end of February.
The president took “about four people” and performed “deep dive” background checks to determine whether there’s anything that would “make them unqualified,” he told host Lester Holt on Thursday.
“I think whomever I pick will get a vote from the Republican side for the following reason,” the president said.
“I’m not looking to make an ideological choice. I’m looking for someone to replace Judge Breyer with the same kind of capacity Judge Breyer had, with an open mind, who understands the Constitution and interprets it in a way that is consistent with the mainstream interpretation of the Constitution.”
During his campaign, the president pledged to nominate a Black woman to the nation’s high court, which he acknowledged in remarks from the White House last month.
“It will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity, and that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” he said. ”I will do what I said I’d do. I will do my duty to select a justice not only with the Senate’s consent but with its advice.”
The eldest Supreme Court justice, at 83 years old, announced his retirement in January, following 28 years on the bench and months of speculation (and mounting public pressure) that the liberal justice would leave the conservative-majority court, opening up an opportunity for the president to diversify the bench and nominate a younger liberal justice for the life-term seat.
It is speculated that among the likely contenders are US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former clerk under Justice Breyer, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court.
President Biden nominated Ms Jackson to the US Circuit Court, succeeding Merrick Garland, who left the court to serve as US Attorney General.
During remarks from the White House alongside Justice Breyer, the president pledged that a process to determine his nominee will be “rigorous.”
“I’ll select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s excellence and decency,” he said.
Senate Democrats plan to move swiftly to confirm the president’s nominee.