President Joe Biden, while on the campaign trail, said he would nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, should he be elected. When rumors around a Justice Stephen Breyer retirement swirled Washington, Biden reiterated his statement. Breyer later announced that he did indeed plan to retire at the end of the June 2022 Supreme Court session, news outlets rolled out Biden’s comments.
Conservatives questioned the comment, but Democrats – including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki– claimed Joe’s statement was no different than President Ronald Reagan saying he was going to nominate a female to the Court in the 1980s (at that time, no female had ever been nominated to the highest court in the land).
When questioned recently about the nomination process (Biden has said he’d like to have a nominee by the end of February), President Biden took a slight change of course. He told reporters that he “is not seeking an ideological Supreme Court nominee,” rather, he is looking to replace Breyer with someone who has the same “capacity” as the outgoing justice.
Biden made these remarks in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. A snippet of the interview was released Thursday, with the full interview to be released Sunday just prior to the Super Bowl.
Biden said at present there are four candidates, and he is “looking closely at and conducted a deep dive” into their backgrounds.
Biden expressed a hope for bipartisan support for the candidate due to his desire to replace Breyer with someone in the same capacity, but not an ideologue, as many Republicans have feared. He spoke of Justice Breyer’s “open mind,” stating he’s looking for a nominee who “understands the Constitution, interprets it in a way that is consistent with the mainstream interpretation of the Constitution.”
Although he did not disclose the four candidates with Holt, he did express that the candidates are “incredibly well qualified and documented.” He added that they all excelled in their schooling at “the best universities.” He also added that each candidate was experienced. Biden added that the candidates were a mix of legal experts: “some on the bench, some in practice,” which would lead the public to believe that at least one of the candidates has practiced law, but is not a past or current judge on any court.
When Breyer announced his retirement, Biden did specifically mention he was looking to replace the justice with a black woman. However, as the nomination process rolls along, he has somewhat watered down those statements, saying that he is looking for a nominee with exemplary character. He described the ideal candidate’s judicial philosophy as being one that “suggests that there are unenumerated rights to the Constitution and all the amendments mean something, including the Ninth Amendment.”
Joe Biden was ridiculed by several political talk show hosts for a comment regarding the Second Amendment last week, when he told reporters that “no Amendment is absolute.”
America anxiously awaits to learn the name of the prospective nominee. Even Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Winsome Sears, commented that the Supreme Court “will become highly partisan” with a Biden nominee on the bench.