Democrats who control the U.S. Senate plan to move Joe Biden’s upcoming nomination of a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on a quick timetable.
Breyer, 83, will retire when the court’s current term wraps up in June, U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday. Democrats narrowly control the Senate, which confirms federal judicial nominees.
Former President Donald Trump nominated Barrett on Sept. 26, 2020, a little over week after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Senate, then led by Republicans, confirmed Barrett on Oct. 26, 2020, a week before the presidential election that Trump lost to Biden. Barrett’s appointment boosted the court’s conservative majority to 6-3.
The Senate is now split evenly between 50 Democrats, including the two independents who align with them, and 50 Republicans. Under this makeup, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote on legislation and nominations.
As a result, Democrats would want to move as quickly as possible on whomever Biden picks to replace Breyer because if any one of the 50 members of their caucus suddenly becomes unable to serve for any reason they could lack the votes to confirm the nominee.
They also face a risk that Republicans will regain control of the Senate in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. If that occurs, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell has indicated he likely would block Biden nominations to the top court.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Biden’s nominee to replace Breyer will receive a “prompt hearing” and will be considered and confirmed by the chamber with “all deliberate speed.”
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which takes the lead in the confirmation process, also vowed quick action.
BIDEN’S PLEDGE TO NAME A BLACK, FEMALE JUSTICE
Joe Biden will soon have the opportunity to fulfill his pledge to name a Black woman to the nation’s top judicial body, which would be a historic first.
A total of 115 justices have served on the Supreme Court in the nation’s history, including 17 as chief justice.
Here is a look at some of the trailblazing justices.
1916: FIRST JEWISH JUSTICE
Justice Louis Brandeis was appointed in 1916 by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and served until 1939. There have been eight Jewish justices in total.
1967: FIRST BLACK JUSTICE
Justice Thurgood Marshall, appointed by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, had previously worked as a influential civil rights lawyer. He served until 1991, when he was replaced by the only other Black justice to have been appointed, Justice Clarence Thomas, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.
1981: FIRST WOMAN JUSTICE
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, served from 1981 until her retirement in 2006. A total of five women have served as justices.
1993: FIRST FEMALE JEWISH JUSTICE
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993 and died while in office in 2020. The second Jewish woman on the court is Justice Elena Kagan, who is still serving.
2009: FIRST HISPANIC JUSTICE
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2009 and still serving, is the only Hispanic Supreme Court justice to date.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)
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Democrats plan to expedite Biden’s upcoming Supreme Court pick is written by Wolf Daily for wolfdaily.com