Democrats, stung by a series of election-year failures to deliver legislative wins for their most loyal voters, hope they'll be buoyed by the prospect that President Joe Biden will name the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Justice Stephen Breyer's pending retirement couldn't have come at a better time for a Democratic Party reeling from the collapse of Biden's legislative agenda last week.
Seeing Biden's campaign pledge to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court fulfilled, Democrats hope they will be able to energize a dejected base, particularly Black voters whose support will be crucial in the November midterm elections.
Among the names being circulated as potential nominees are California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, prominent civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill and U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs — whom Biden has nominated to be an appeals court judge.
Replacing Breyer won't ultimately change the court's 6-3 conservative majority, which has stymied Biden on major priorities including his recent vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses.
If every Senate Republican unites to oppose Biden's nominee, the president would need to secure support from every Democrat in the chamber. That could potentially revive recent fights in which moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona bucked the party and defeated its priorities.
In a letter made public Thursday, Breyer said he plans to retire when the court goes into recess this summer. He added that he hopes his replacement is nominated and confirmed by that time.
Biden said Thursday he plans to name a nominee by the end of next month.
This story was originally published by Newsy. Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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