Democrats start lobbying for the first black woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court bench

David Millward-Sun, February 21, 2021, 12:12 PM

Senior Democrats are pushing Joe Biden to honour is election pledge and appoint the Supreme Court’s first female African-American justice.

Mr Biden promised to appoint a black woman to the bench just before last year’s South Carolina primary which rescued his then faltering campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Although there is no current vacancy, the jostling has already started on Capitol Hill in anticipation of a seat becoming vacant.

Stephen Breyer, one of three liberal justices left on the nine-strong Supreme Court, is 82 and should he step down Mr Biden will be able to make a nomination at a time when, thanks to vice president Kamala Harris’s casting vote, the Democrats has a majority in the Senate.

Barack Obama was thwarted from appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016, following the death of Anthony Scalia, by the Republican Senate majority.

Jim Clyburn - Reuters
Jim Clyburn – Reuters

With the mid-term elections less than two years away, Mr Biden’s window for getting a liberal judge on the Conservative-dominated court is potentially a narrow one.

According to the New York Times, Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, is pushing the case of Michelle Childs, a judge in South Carolina.

He reportedly put forward her name in a meeting with Ms Harris earlier this month.

Aged only 54, she could expect to spend a considerable time on the bench. One of the factors in Donald Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett was her youth, potentially guaranteeing one conservative vote on the bench for decades.

She would also bring “blue-collar” credentials to the bench having attended public universities – unlike the current justices who all had an Ivy League education.

Ms Childs reportedly has the support of other members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus although other names are also in the frame including Leslie Abrams Gardner, a Federal District Court judge in Georgia and younger sister of Stacey Abrams.

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