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DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Jackson, widely considered Biden’s first choice, was elevated from her previous position as a federal district court judge in Washington, DC, where she remained from 2013 to 2021.
During his confirmation hearing for the highly influential DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Jackson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his run would add ‘value’ to the bench as he tried to explain how it wouldn’t play a role. in its decisions.
“I look at the arguments, the facts and the law. I methodically and intentionally set aside personal opinions, any other inappropriate considerations, and I think race would be the kind of thing that would be inappropriate to inject into my assessment of a case,’ she said. declared.
Then Jackson added: “I’ve lived life in a way maybe different from some of my colleagues because of who I am, and that could be valuable – I hope it would be valuable – if I was confirmed in court.”
During his tenure as judge, Jackson was part of the decision to order former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with the House of Representatives subpoena as part of his impeachment inquiry against then-President Donald Trump.
One line from the decision impressed Democrats: “The main takeaway from the last 250 years of recorded American history is that presidents are not kings.”
Jackson, widely considered Biden’s first choice, was a presidential campaign attorney for Barack Obama in 2008
Jackson also signed the recent notice ordering that Trump’s White House documents be released to the Jan. 6 select committee.
And in 2019, she stopped Donald Trump’s fast-track deportation policy from taking effect at the southern border.
Questions about Jackson’s impartiality in the High Court could also stem from his past political activism. In her questionnaire for the Senate bench, Jackson admitted that she was a lawyer and poll watcher for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
She also donated $400 to Obama’s first presidential bid, according to campaign finance reports.
Jackson, 51, earned his law degree from Harvard and, fittingly, articled at Breyer. She is also married to the brother-in-law of former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. She has two daughters with husband Patrick Jackson, whom she married in 1996.
Patrick Jackson, a surgeon, previously donated $1,250 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and $1,750 to Obama’s re-election bid in 2012.
Campaign documents show Jackson’s husband is no stranger to donating to Democratic presidential bids
Some Biden critics might also worry that Jackson is soft on crime — during her tenure as vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, the panel retroactively reduced sentences for numerous crack-related offenses.
It allowed 12,000 convicted felons to apply for sentence reductions and allowed 1,800 of them to immediately return to the streets.
Judge J. Michelle Childs of the United States District Court of South Carolina
Childs has the backing of a powerful Democratic lawmaker in his state, a longtime Biden ally and representative of House Majority Whip James Clyburn.
Cyburn spoke on her behalf alongside South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham at Childs’ 2010 confirmation hearing to her current bench, to which she was nominated by Obama.
The South Carolina U.S. District Court judge was approached for promotion last month by Biden to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, but the nomination is still pending.
One of his recent high-profile rulings was overturned by the Supreme Court, when it overturned Childs’ September 2020 ruling to remove a measure from South Carolina’s new election bill that would have strengthened ballot security. postal voting.
The South Carolina Legislature passed a bill allowing all voters to vote by mail for any reason in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but an amendment to remove a provision requiring the signature of a witness failed.
Childs upheld the law but overturned the signature requirement in a landslide victory by state and national Democrats just before the presidential election.
Childs showed considerable deference to Congress during his 2010 Senate court hearing, which may sound alarm bells in today’s hyper-partisan political environment.
It was quickly overturned by the Supreme Court in early October.
And during her confirmation hearing in 2010, Childs showed great deference to Congress, indicating that she might give federal lawmakers the benefit of the doubt on some occasions.
Asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein about her understanding of the authority of Congress as given by the Constitution, the judge said: “As to any law regarding your powers in Congress, I assume that whatever you are doing is constitutional and would approach it with that mindset, knowing that you will only enact laws that you have duly deliberated on and plan to deliberate on.
A graduate of South Carolina Law School, Childs lacks the Ivy League education that eight of the current nine justices hold — a breath of fresh air that argues for his nomination as a advantage to make the Democratic Party appear less elitist.
But despite his progressive resume, Childs revealed that his views on interpreting the Constitution were more in line with what his conservative colleagues on the court would be.
The South Carolina judge has a key ally in Rep. James Clyburn (center), a longtime friend of Biden
Childs answered ‘no’ when asked on her nomination questionnaire if she thought the Constitution was a ‘living’ document – meaning its interpretation cannot be changed as society changes.
Childs’ objective take is similar to how Judge Amy Coney Barrett described her “quirky” interpretation of the land’s laws.
But her husband, Floyd Angus, is a Democratic donor like Jackson – documents show he gave Obama $250 in 2008 and doubled the contribution in 2012.
California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger
Kruger would be a younger pick at 45 and is widely considered a moderate to liberal judge in the Golden State.
But her husband, a California-based attorney named Brian Hauck, delves further into left-wing politics. As recently as 2020, he donated $1,000 to Biden’s presidential campaign.
Hauck donated $3,800 to Obama’s first campaign between 2007 and 2008, then worked in his Justice Department between 2009 and 2014.
Kruger has been involved in the federal government as senior counsel in the solicitor general’s office, though she twice turned down that senior position when it was offered to her by Biden.
Kruger is the youngest potential pick reported at just 45, despite having previously turned down Biden’s bid for solicitor general twice.
She served under Obama as Acting Senior Deputy Solicitor General from May 2010 to June 2011, where she argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court. While at the Justice Department, Kruger won the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2013 and 2014, which is the agency’s highest employee honor.
She also served as clerk for the late Justice John Paul Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010 and died in 2019.
Kruger was also the youngest person appointed to the Supreme Court of California when then-Governor Jerry Brown appointed her in 2014. On that court, Kruger wrote some notable opinions, including barring the forces of the order to search a woman’s purse without a warrant.
Kruger also upheld a California law requiring law enforcement to collect DNA samples and fingerprints from those arrested or convicted of criminal offenses.
Her more conservative approaches to criminal cases combined with her background as a private attorney could dampen her appeal to the far left of Biden’s party.
In 2005, as a lawyer at WilmerHale, Kruger was part of a team that successfully defended Shell Oil Company against a $500 million judgment from a Nigerian court.
Sherrilyn Ifill, former director of the NAACP
Ifill, a civil rights leader, could stoke political concerns as a candidate after spending decades as a left-wing activist
His nomination would have some support from the Congressional Black Caucus, according to Politico, but his frequent television appearances and presence on far-left social media would make Ifill a target for partisan accusations.
His Twitter feed is full of atypical partisan opinions for a potential Supreme Court nominee.
In a recent article, she takes aim at Republicans and even moderate Democrats in defending Biden’s embattled chief of staff, Ron Klain.
‘If you don’t speak [about] the folly and obstruction of the President’s opponents to frustrate his agenda and those of liberal and moderate Democrats, you are doing it wrong,’ Ifill wrote.
Earlier this month, the civil rights activist appeared on MSNBC where she praised Biden’s controversial Georgia voting rights speech, where he likened opponents to sabotaging the filibuster to push through his bill to infamous racists like George Wallace and Jefferson Davis.
She said efforts to pass election security laws by GOP-led legislatures were “voter suppression” measures that unfairly targeted black and brown voters.
“The purpose of it, its design, is to overthrow our democracy and ensure that the election outcome is controlled by a political party,” Ifill said.
Ifill also isn’t afraid to take pictures on the pitch where she might be nominated.
She claimed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear affirmative action cases against Harvard and the University of South Carolina “seriously threatens the nation’s ideals of equality” in a statement published Wednesday in the Harvard Gazette. .