Election-Year Politics May Undermine Biden Ally’s Bipartisan Supreme Court Selection

When President Joe Biden discovered this week he might appoint a woman of color to the Supreme Court, a prominent Democratic ally had a candidate prepared.

On behalf of South Carolina, Rep. James Clyburn has urged the White House to select J. Michelle Childs, a home-state court judge whom Biden appointed to D.C.

Childs, a state school graduate, was nominated to the federal court by then-President Barack Obama in 2010.

Clyburn has maintained in talks over the previous year that Childs’ lack of an Ivy League background is a plus.


After a few days in the Biden administration, Clyburn was at the White House, meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris.

“One of the issues we, as Democrats, have to be extremely mindful about is being branded as elitist,” Clyburn said during an interview with the New York Times.

A request for a response from the White House went unanswered.

The majority whip told the Washington Post that Childs “has the sort of history and expertise that we, as judges, and jurors, should have.”

He went on, “I’m extremely worried we’re becoming elitist by claiming the only way to establish the appropriate qualifications is to attend particular colleges. That’s not correct.”

Thus, according to Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’ book, “Lucky,” Clyburn was instrumental in getting Biden to agree to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, days before the vote.

Following a surprising leak, Biden indicated Harris would play a “major role” in deciding the selection. Several high-profile candidates are also in the mix.

Meetings and Speculations

In April, according to the White House visitor logs, U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson met with Caroline McKay, Remus’ chief of staff.

Records reveal U.S. Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi met with Biden twice a month beforehand. A month later, she visited with personnel.

A White House spokesperson refused to comment.

Republican support for Biden’s record number of judicial appointments has waned in the Senate.

In June, just three Republicans voted to approve Jackson: Graham, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and Maine’s Susan Collins.

Lawmakers have also turned against candidates for the Supreme Court.

According to the Washington Examiner, “politics plays a significant role in this right now, particularly as the elections approach. Many senators may or may not run for office in 2024.”

This year, Scott is up for re-election and a prospective GOP presidential candidate in 2024.

However, resistance to Biden’s plan to replace Breyer is anticipated to increase soon.

Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network explains the political stakes.

Severino said in a statement, “the left pushed Justice Breyer into resignation, and now it will seek a justice who rubber-stamps its leftist agenda.”

Last year, Severino told the Associated Press that Republican senators saw “reflexively” supporting Democratic candidates in the court system as “unilateral disarmament.”