Kamala Harris Could Become First Black Female Supreme Court Justice


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Vice President Kamala Harris could be appointed as the first black and female Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, following news Wednesday that liberal Justice Stephen Breyer is to retire, allowing President Joe Biden to appoint a successor.

The retirement is timely, and would maximize the chance that Biden’s pick would be confirmed, ahead of a possible Senate flip to the Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, and amid plummeting opinion polls for the president ahead of 2024.

Biden promised before the South Carolina primary in 2020 — the moment he seized control of the race, thanks to black voters — and again at one of the last Democratic Party presidential primary debates that his first nominee for the Court would be a black woman.

Unlike Donald Trump, who provided a list of potential appointees when he ran for president in 2016, Biden did not specify who his choices might be. There was speculation about Justice Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court; and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is a district judge in Washington, D.C., but no firm commitments.

However, Harris, who served as District Attorney of San Francisco and California Attorney General before being elected to the U.S. Senate and then as Vice President, would provide another option with a long, if rather controversial, legal résumé.

Nominating Harris could also help Biden and the Democrats solve the problem posed by Harris’s unpopularity. Biden faces questions about his mental and physical abilities, raising doubts about his ability to run for reelection in 2024, or even to serve out his term. Harris is even more unpopular than Biden, however, making her an unpalatable replacement for Biden.

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