President Joe Biden announced on Jan. 27 that he’ll appoint the first-ever black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of February.
Biden made the announcement alongside retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who officially announced his intention to step down at the end of the high court’s 2022 summer term.
“While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision but one,” Biden said. “The person I nominate will be somebody with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity, and that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue, in my opinion.”
He made the promise on the 2020 campaign trail to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy.
Appointing a Supreme Court justice is “one of the most serious constitutional responsibilities a president has,” according to Biden. He noted that his administration’s selection process will be “rigorous” and that he’ll seek the advice and consent of senators from both parties, as well as outside constitutional scholars and attorneys.
He said Vice President Kamala Harris will play an advisory role in the selection process as well—citing her background as California’s attorney general and as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Some have speculated that Harris could potentially be tapped for the Supreme Court opening. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Jan. 26 repeated her previous statement, saying that Biden intends to run again in 2024 with Harris on the ticket.
Breyer, 83, has served as a Supreme Court justice for more than 30 years.
By Nick Ciolino