Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to deliver his official announcement of retirement Thursday (January 27), leaving an open seat for President Joe Biden to fulfill a campaign promise: to nominate a Black woman to the nation’s highest court.
The nomination of a Black woman would be history-making since, out of the 115 Supreme Court Justices nominated to the court, none have been Black women, and only two Black men have served on the bench.
Since taking office, Biden has doubled the number of Black women serving the federal court system overall, creating a political lay-up of sorts for this anticipated and historical nomination process.
These are five Black women judges who experts say have most likely made Biden’s short list of nominees.
Ketanji Brown Jackson
Current Role: US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Education: Harvard University and Harvard School of Law
Judge Brown Jackson, a native of Florida clerked for Justice Breyer and was elevated to the DC Court of Appeals last year.
Current Role: California Supreme Court
Education: Harvard University and Yale University
Justice Kruger made California history becoming the youngest person nominated to the state’s high court in 2014. She also worked in the Solicitor General’s Office, arguing 12 cases before the Supreme Court, representing the government.
J. Michelle Childs
Current Role: South Carolina US District Court
Education: University of Florida and University of South Carolina School of Law
Judge Childs previously served as a commissioner on the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission and was recently nominated to the DC Court of Appeals.
Current Role: NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Education: New York University and New York University School of Law
Ifill is a civil rights attorney and taught law at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore for 20 years.
Current Role: US Court of Appeals for the 7th District
Education: Princeton University and Yale University
Judge Jackson-Akiwumi was appointed to the 7th District Court during Biden’s first round pick of judicial nominees.
Leslie Abrams Gardner
Current Role: US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
Education: Brown University and Yale University
Judge Gardner halted the election corruption during the 2020 election and is the younger sister of voting rights advocate and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.