Black women asserted themselves on the front lines to help push President Joe Biden over the top in the 2020 election.
Now, as the nation awaits word on who the president will nominate to fill the newly vacant Supreme Court seat, there’s little doubt whether an African-American woman will be that pick.
Among the few remaining questions: whether that individual will deliver progress on a high court that will maintain its 6-3 conservative advantage.
“As a longtime advocate for diversity and inclusion at the highest levels of leadership in our nation, I am looking forward to the president’s appointment of a highly-qualified and experienced jurist to our nation’s highest court,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio).
“We know that when America’s boardrooms, legislatures, and even the Supreme Court start to resemble America, we all benefit,” Beatty said. “I will continue to push in my capacity as a member of Congress and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus to ensure that the president upholds his promise to the American people and that the Senate confirms a Black woman to the Supreme Court without any unnecessary delay.”
Candidate from South Carolina Rises to the Top
While the field remains open, The White House has confirmed the candidacy of South Carolina U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, who appears to already have Republican support.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1992, Childs went to work as an associate attorney at Nexsen Pruet Jacobs & Pollard LLC where she became the first Black female partner in a major law firm in South Carolina.
She earned two gubernatorial appointments to become the deputy director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (2000-02) and a commissioner on the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission (2002-06).
Childs then won election from the South Carolina General Assembly as an at-large Circuit Court Judge (2006-10). Then, in 2010, former President Barack Obama appointed Childs to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of South Carolina
“In law school, you learn early on that your reputation and credibility will follow you throughout your career,” Childs said in an interview with her alma mater.
“Your classmates will be on opposing sides in cases or matters and will be leaders in various firms, agencies and organizations in the state, so you always want to be known for having good character as your reputation can affect your ability to resolve matters entrusted to you,” she said.
In a statement, the White House said “multiple individuals” remain under consideration along with Childs including D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.
Others reportedly being considered include: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Holly A. Thomas; federal Circuit Court Judge Tiffany P. Cunningham; civil rights attorney and 11th Circuit Court candidate Nancy G. Abudu; 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Arianna J. Freeman; NYU law professor Melissa Murray; 7th Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi; District Judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright; North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls; and 2nd Circuit Judge Eunice Lee.
President Biden said he will make his selection by the end of February.
“Our process is going to be rigorous. I will select a nominee worthy of Justice Stephen Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency,” Biden said.
“While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” he said.