House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the nation’s highest-ranking Black congressman, reportedly urged officials in the Biden administration to choose Judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina to be the next sitting Supreme Court justice, should an opening come up.
Childs was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a judge in the United States District Court, District of South Carolina in 2010, a position she still holds today.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and went to the University of South Carolina School of Law for her J.D.
Because being a justice on the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment, a sitting judge must either retire or pass away in order for a new one to be nominated.
According to Fox News, Justice Stephen Breyer, a left-leaning judge who was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is rumored to be retiring soon, leaving room for Biden to put forth a nominee.
The current Supreme Court is right-leaning, with six justices coming from Republican presidents’ nominations and three from Democratic presidents’ nominations; if Childs were to replace Breyer, this ratio wouldn’t change.
Many activists have called for Biden to expand the number of Supreme Court seats in the hopes that balance between the parties may be restored in a timely manner. The president has not publicly given his opinion on the matter.
If confirmed, Childs would be the first Black woman confirmed to the nation’s highest court and the second Supreme Court justice without an Ivy League degree. The first was Amy Coney Barrett.
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As theGrio previously reported, Donald Trump nominated Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the final days of his presidency, much to the dismay of most Democratic lawmakers.
In 2016, Obama was in a similar position when a high court vacancy opened due to the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland but was ultimately blocked by Republicans. Garland eventually became Biden’s choice for attorney general, and his confirmation hearing was held on Monday.
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