The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden will announce Supreme Court nominee Friday

The president, who has promised to name the first Black woman to the court, has made his selection

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to arguments last December as high school students observe a reenactment of a landmark Supreme Court case. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

President Biden has decided who he will nominate to the Supreme Court and will make the announcement Friday, according to a White House official with knowledge of the matter.

Biden has chosen Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court

Biden has promised to select a nominee to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who announced his retirement last month, before the end of February, and the president remains on track to announce the pick by Monday at the latest. Biden has said he will nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court in its 233-year history.

The White House declined to comment late Thursday.

Biden has interviewed at least three candidates for the job: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal appeals judge who has a background as a public defender; Judge J. Michelle Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina who is a favorite of House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), an influential Biden ally; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court, according to people familiar with the process.

The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more openly discuss a sensitive topic, did not rule out that Biden may have also interviewed other potential nominees.

Democrats, frustrated that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stretched longtime traditions to put two conservative justices on the Supreme Court, have been eagerly anticipating Biden’s nominee, even though it will not change the court’s 6-3 conservative majority.

“I’m more excited than ever by the increasing indications that the nominee is going to be one of several really stupendously qualified Black women who are going to make the nation proud with their compelling life story and great qualifications,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview on Wednesday.

Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that “the human element here is a really powerful one — not only a historic first but a spectacularly qualified future justice.”

With the Senate divided 50-50 between the parties, Democrats have just enough votes to confirm Biden’s pick if they all back her, since Vice President Harris could break any ties. Still, Biden has made it clear he would like to attract at least a handful of GOP votes and he has reached out to several Republicans who seem most likely to break ranks.

Blumenthal said he is hopeful the confirmation process will be “very expeditious.” But Supreme Court confirmations have become increasingly contentious in recent years, and the days when a nominee could win near-unanimous Senate approval have been replaced by increasingly partisan votes.