Friday, August 12, 2022

Clyburn, the architect of Biden’s court vows, forwards his choice

COLOMBIA, SC ( Associated Press) – In President Joe Biden’s lowest moment in the 2020 campaign, South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn came to him with a suggestion: He should pledge to put the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

After Some Cajoling, Biden Promises in a Democratic DebateCredit goes to Clyburn for turning on Black support that helped Biden to a landslide victory In the South Carolina primary and eventually win the White House.

With retirement after two years, there is an empty space of hope on the court. Justice Stephen Breyer. Biden sticks to his promise. And Clyburn, the highest-ranking black member of Congress, has another question.

“Judge (Michelle) Childs has everything I think it takes to be great,” Clyburn said.

As lobbying begins to fill the open court seat, Clyburn is using his history to make a compelling case for Biden and his stature as the No. 3 House Democrat, his preferred choice, U.S. District Judge J. . Michelle Childs, a jurist of her native South Carolina. It’s a campaign he’s building, both publicly and privately, to help elevate Childs to an emerging short list of black women who may soon be making history.

In addition to Childs, early discussions about a successor included California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, as well as Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer clerk who is now on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Biden is also looking at Minnesota’s US District Court Judge Wilhelmina Wright and New York University law professor Melissa Murray, who specializes in family law and reproductive rights justice.

Court opening for Biden is chance to show black voters that he hasn’t forgotten his promises for them, especially this month after their failure to complete the voting rights law in the Senate. He said Thursday that having a black woman in court was “long overdue” And he will announce his choice by the end of February.

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Clyburn had a good start. He began making his case for Childs more than two years ago.

In December 2020, just weeks after Biden won the White House, Clyburn said he had written advocating for the then-presidential election that Childs be promoted from a federal trial bench in South Carolina to a DC appeals court. Court seats are often seen as a springboard for Supreme Court candidates.

“Everyone says, ‘Well, that’s the way you need to go to the Supreme Court,'” Clyburn said at the appellate level. “I never agreed to it, but you know, I don’t have to agree to all the rules I have to follow.”

Last month, Biden officially submitted Childs’ name for an open slot on the circuit court. Her Senate hearing was expected next week, which would have given Childs a closely watched audition, but staffers said Friday that it had been delayed.

In interviews in recent days, Clyburn has argued that, if Childs had been nominated, she could have won the support of two Republican senators from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott—a tempting prospect for Biden, a Offering the possibility of a pick that can satisfy party and also win bipartisan support.

Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not say in a statement whether he was prepared to vote for Biden’s choice. If the Democrats Unified“He has the power to replace Justice Breyer in 2022 without the support of a Republican vote,” he said.

A spokesperson for Scott lauded Childs’ “honoured reputation as a judge in South Carolina” and said that “she looks forward to joining her if she is nominated.”

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Unlike most High Court nominees, Childs is not an Ivy League graduate or former federal appellate clerk. The 55-year-old graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She has a master’s degree from the university’s business school, as well as a legal master’s from Duke.

Clyburn, who has often pushed for ethnic and educational diversity in Biden’s cabinet, said he thinks the education of children outside the Ivy League, along with their upbringing in a single-parent household, should give the court an important perspective. which is now missing.

“We run the risk of creating an elite society,” Clyburn told reporters. “We have to recognize that people come from all walks of life, and we shouldn’t dismiss anyone because of it.”

During her years of private practice in Columbia, Childs became the first black female partner in one of the largest law firms in the state, where she focused on employment and labor law. After several years as a state court judge, he was appointed to a federal trial bench. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples had the right to marry nationwide, ruling in favor of a gay couple seeking to recognize Columbia marriage in South Carolina.

All of her experiences, Clyburn said, give Childs “the ability to empathize.”

Asked in a 2020 Q&A with her alma mater what advice she would give to a young lawyer, Childs reflected on the meaning of success, stressing the importance of being “a person of courage and conviction.”

“We all have an important role to play, both individually and collectively, to be the architects of society,” she said. “Being successful is not just for the purpose of a place of comfort and satisfaction, but a place of responsibility and challenge.”


Meg Kinnard can be reached here,


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