White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday President Biden “stands by” his earlier promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court after several outlets reported that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire at the end of the Court’s current term.
The 83-year-old’s retirement was first reported by NBC’s Pete Williams and comes after Breyer served 27 years on the High Court. It will present President Biden with his first opportunity to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court.
Psaki was tight-lipped about Biden’s plans to replace Breyer but affirmed the president’s commitment to nominating a black woman to the Court during a press briefing.
It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today. We have no additional details or information to share from @WhiteHouse
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 26, 2022
“The president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court and certainly stands by that,” Psaki said. “For today, again, I’m just not going to be able to say anything about any specifics until Justice Breyer makes any announcement, should he decide to make an announcement.”
The list of likely candidates includes federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer law clerk, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on California’s Supreme Court.
Several reporters asked Psaki if there is any scenario in which Biden would select Vice President Kamala Harris as his nominee.
Psaki said she would not speak to any “considerations, preparations or lists,” adding that there is a “long history of Supreme Court justices determining when they may retire, if they retire and announcing that and that remains the case today.”
A reporter pressed Psaki again: “So, theoretically, would someone who was an attorney general of a large state and who served with many key Senate votes be an attractive candidate?”
Psaki replied: “The president has every intention, as he said before, of running for reelection and for running for reelection with Vice President Harris on the ticket as his partner but again I will just reiterate I have nothing more to offer in terms of specifics or information on the reports this morning.”
Breyer was first appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and is one of three liberal justices on the Court.
He is the oldest justice on the court and has faced pressure from Democrats and progressive groups to retire to allow Biden to choose a replacement while Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Wednesday: “President Biden’s 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,” according to MSNBC.