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White House confirms South Carolina judge is under consideration for Supreme Court

Judge J. Michelle Childs, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court, during her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 16, 2010. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
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The White House on Friday confirmed that President Biden is considering a South Carolina federal judge and favorite of House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) as a potential candidate for the Supreme Court.

The statement is the first time the White House has publicly confirmed a name under consideration to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who announced this week that he would retire after the end of the current court term.

At the same time, the White House indicated that Judge J. Michelle Childs is one of several people under consideration by the president, who has pledged to live up to his campaign promise of nominating the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Childs is a South Carolina judge who in December was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, considered the second-most influential court in the country and often a steppingstone to the Supreme Court.

But her confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit, scheduled in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Tuesday, was quietly postponed. A committee aide said Friday that the panel “looks forward to processing a number of circuit nominees in the near future.”

In response to inquiries from The Washington Post about the postponement, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said that Childs is “among multiple individuals under consideration for the Supreme Court.”

“And we are not going to move her nomination on the Court of Appeals while the President is considering her for this vacancy,” Bates said. “At the same time, reporting indicating that the President is only seriously considering three potential nominees is incorrect.”

The other most-often-discussed names for Biden’s first Supreme Court pick are Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the D.C. Circuit and Leondra Kruger, a California Supreme Court justice. Others under consideration, according to people familiar with the matter, include Anita Earls, a North Carolina Supreme Court justice; New York University law professor Melissa Murray; and Minnesota federal District Judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright. These people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

Biden said this week that he will announce his pick before the end of February.

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