WASHINGTON — During a press briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden is “absolutely” committed to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
During his campaign last year, Biden promised to put the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. That campaign promise was complicated, however, by the current makeup of the judiciary in federal appeals courts, where Supreme Court nominees are typically drawn from. There are only a handful of Black women currently sitting on the bench in federal appeals courts and, according to a recent analysis from NBC News, all of them are of a fairly advanced age. Presidents typically select younger Supreme Court nominees because it is a lifetime appointment.
Biden’s campaign promise was thrust back into the spotlight on Tuesday when he announced his first federal judicial picks. The group of 11 attorneys and judges he nominated was historically diverse and included multiple Black women. As she discussed Biden’s campaign promise, Psaki touted his new court picks.
“I think there is an incredible group of nominees the president announced today. … As someone who served for 17 years on the Senate Judiciary Committee as chairman and ranking member, he has a long history on judicial appointments,” Psaki said.
“This is a priority for him, but our focus is getting the Senate to confirm this group of nominees and to continue to build ... a pipeline of additional highly qualified nominees who are going to reflect the values the president has outlined.”
Psaki also pointed out that Biden isn’t in a position to nominate a Supreme Court justice just yet.
“That would require there being an opening on the Supreme Court,” she said. “Of course, there is not an opening on the Supreme Court.”
Six of the current Supreme Court justices are considered conservatives and were nominated by Republican presidents; the liberal wing consists of three justices appointed by Democrats. The oldest justice currently on the court, liberal Stephen Breyer, will turn 83 later this year.
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