(Reuters) – President Joe Biden has pledged to nominate a Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court following Justice Stephen Breyer’s looming retirement. No Black woman has ever served on the top U.S. judicial body.
Here is a look at some potential contenders.
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON
Biden appointed Jackson, 51, to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington last year, a move that put her in contention for a potential Supreme Court nomination. Jackson previously served as a Washington-based U.S. district court judge for eight years, having been appointed by Democratic former President Barack Obama in 2013. Obama also considered her for a vacant Supreme Court position in 2016. She had a varied career before becoming a judge, including a stint as a federal public defender.
Jackson is well-connected in the Washington legal community and won three Republican votes when confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 53-44 to her current position. She was born in Miami and attended Harvard University, graduating from the law school in 1996.
Kruger, 45, has served as a justice on the California Supreme Court since 2014, when she was appointed by Democratic former Governor Jerry Brown. She straddles the ideological middle of the left-leaning state court – moderately liberal on civil cases, more conservative on criminal matters, according to legal observers.
Well-respected within the legal community by both conservatives and liberals, Kruger argued 12 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court when working in the Office of the Solicitor General representing the federal government under presidents of both parties.
J. MICHELLE CHILDS
A favorite of influential U.S. congressman Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House of Representatives Democrat, Childs is a federal district court judge based in South Carolina who Biden has nominated to a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Childs, 55, was appointed to the district court by Obama in 2010.
A longtime former lawyer for low-income defendants, Jackson-Akiwumi, born in 1979, was nominated by Biden to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and confirmed by the Senate last year on a 54-40 vote. She served for 10 years as a staff attorney in the Federal Defender Program in Illinois.
Another former defense lawyer for people who cannot afford a lawyer, Lee, born in 1970, was nominated by Biden to serve on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was confirmed by the Senate on a 50-47 vote last year. Lee served for 21 years as a lawyer in New York representing convicted defendants on appeal.
A prominent civil rights lawyer, Ifill, 59, heads the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was founded by Thurgood Marshall, who later served as the first Black Supreme Court justice. Earlier in her career Ifill spent 20 years as a law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.
(Compiled by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)