Now that Justice Stephen Breyer has reportedly decided to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, the speculation over who President Biden could tap to replace him has officially taken on new life.
And considering Democrats' slim chances of holding onto their Senate majority this November, Biden will have to choose a nominee that can safely and quickly garner 51 votes before midterms potentially swing the chamber's balance of power.
At 83, Breyer is the oldest member of the court. His replacement by a Democratic president would not likely alter the conservative-liberal balance but would cement his seat for the judicial left potentially for years to come.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) January 26, 2022
So, who's believed to be in the running? As one option: Judge Ketani Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., circuit, a Harvard Law School graduate and former law clerk to none other than Justice Breyer, per The New York Times. Another possibility is Justice Leondra R. Kruge of the California Supreme Court, a graduate of Yale Law School and former law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens. University of South Carolina law alum Judge J. Michelle Childs, who serves on the Federal District Court in South Carolina and used to work in state government, also appears to be on the docket.
But whoever the president picks, court watchers have reason to believe the confirmation won't be nearly as brutal as that of Justices Neil Gorsuch or Brett Kavanaugh, both of which were appointed to the court in bitter partisan showings.
Shortly after the news broke, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) assured that the president's eventual nominee "will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed."