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The president’s promise highlights a group that has struggled to become part of the very small pool of elite judges in the nation’s higher federal courts.
WASHINGTON — President Biden and his legal team have spent a year preparing for this moment: the chance to make good on his pledge to name the first Black woman to the Supreme Court at a time of continuing racial reckoning for the country.
The decision by Justice Stephen G. Breyer to retire will give Mr. Biden his most high-profile opportunity since taking office to reshape the federal judiciary, having already nominated dozens of district and appeals court judges from a range of racial, ethnic and legal backgrounds.
His promise also underscores how much Black women have struggled to become part of a very small pool of elite judges in the nation’s higher federal courts. Speculation on Wednesday focused on a rarefied group of well-credentialed Black women who have elite educations and experience on the bench.
The short list included Ketanji Brown Jackson, a 51-year-old judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Justice Breyer, and Leondra R. Kruger, a 45-year-old justice on the California Supreme Court who graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for former Justice John Paul Stevens.
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