It looks like President Joe Biden is keeping his promise to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. During his 2020 campaign, Biden vowed to name a Black woman to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court and now the opportunity has come. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced his retirement on Thursday leaving the president to fill the seat.
While a decision has not been made yet, there is a supposed shortlist featuring Black women that are being considered to succeed Justice Breyer.
Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, and Judge J. Michelle Childs are said to be the frontrunners for the seat on the nation’s highest court.
Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was on former President Obama’s shortlist in 2016. After being confirmed to an appellate court, Jackson was the first Black woman to do so in a decade. As a Harvard Law graduate, she has worked as a public defender and clerked on the Supreme Court for judges, similarly to the recently-retired Breyer.
During her eight and a half years on D.C.’s U.S. District Court, Jackson has advocated for people who have been taken advantage of by persons in power. An example is the AFGE, AFL-CIO v. Trump, case where she overturned three of former President Donald Trump’s executive orders that limited federal workers' rights to engage with union representatives.
California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger
California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger graduated from Yale Law and was the editor of the Yale Law Journal, making her the first Black woman to hold that title. She continued making history as she also became one of the youngest people to ever be nominated to California's Supreme Court. Not to mention, when working with the U.S. Justice Department, she argued 12 cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Many people who have worked with Kruger said that she is very thoughtful and cautious with making decisions. If selected, she will not only be the first Black woman to serve on the court, she will also be the youngest confirmed justice since Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Judge J. Michelle Childs
Last month, Biden nominated Judge J. Michelle Childs to serve on the D.C. Circuit after serving as the U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina and now she may potentially make it to the Supreme Court. Childs' educational background is a little different than Kruger’s and Jackson’s as she didn’t attend Ivy League schools.
Born in Detriot and raised in South Carolina, Childs attended the University of South Carolina’s Law School and got her Masters of Law in Judicial Studies at Duke University. During her time as a District Court Judge, she ruled in favor of two women who were suing the state of South Carolina to have their marriage be recognized, which was a landmark decision on marriage equality.
If nominated, because of their ages, Kruger, 45, Jackson, 51, and Childs 55, will serve on the Supreme Court for decades.
There are only nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court and there has never been a Black woman on it. This means that one of the aforementioned women can make history and be a changemaker in decisions such as the Roe v. Wade landmark Supreme Court case that is currently being challenged and could potentially be overturned.
Having Black female representation on the high court is not only a visual image of Black girl magic, but it can also influence politics in a positive way.
Supreme Court case decisions have historically changed the landscape of America and having a Black woman as one of the faces behind the bench is important to the future of Black women’s rights in this country.
Biden is expected to announce his decision before February.
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