Biden interviews 3 Supreme Court candidates as his search narrows

WASHINGTON – President Biden has interviewed at least three candidates for his Supreme Court nomination, a signal that he intends to deliver on his promise that he will pick a nominee by the end of the day. month.

But there’s less than a week left until the end of the month. Interviews began late last week, according to several people familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of its political sensitivities. Mr. Biden is now under pressure to announce his choice, whom he has promised to be a Black woman, somewhere between a swift diplomatic effort to rein in Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine and The Coalition’s first speech is scheduled for next Tuesday.

The White House on Tuesday emphasized that Mr. Biden had not made a decision but was still on track to make a decision before the end of the month.

According to a person familiar with the process, Mr. Biden held interviews with three candidates long considered to be on his shortlist: He spoke with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who won the support of three Republican senators when Mr. Biden elevated her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He also interviewed Leondra R. Kruger of the Supreme Court of California, a former Supreme Court law clerk whose Yale Law pedigree is shared by four of the current justices.

He also talked to J. Michelle Childsa judge in the Federal District Court in South Carolina, a state in which Mr. Biden’s black voters helped him win the presidency.

At least one of the interviews was in-person.

The White House, knowing that the Supreme Court nomination is one of the most scrutinized and politically volatile of all presidential duties, has said little about the process. position Retired Justice Stephen G. Breyer Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, quipped when a reporter asked if Mr. Biden had finished his interview.

Several of Mr. Biden’s advisers have emphasized that he intends to consider that as he enters the final candidate evaluation stage, and said he may have more interviews. Some others also pointed out that Mr. Biden’s interested in a long and detailed process could threaten his own self-imposed deadlines.

“He’s not a man,” said Jeff Peck, a lobbyist who served as general counsel and chief of staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. let outside forces dictate the time. “He’ll do it when he’s ready and when he’s decided, but I think there’s an external relationship here, partly down to the State of the Union.”

Over the past few weeks, Mr. Biden has stayed up late reading court decisions. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Biden has presided over the hearings of several Supreme Court candidates. Did he say? one of his proudest moments in that role was when he helped thwart Robert H. Bork’s nomination, for what he saw as Mr. Bork’s limited views on civil rights, women’s rights, and civil rights. and the Constitution.

In 1991, he presided over explosive hearings to confirm Justice Clarence Thomas. Those hearings included sexual misconduct allegations that led some to accuse Mr. Biden and his all-white, all-male committee of mistreating Anita Hill, who has accused Justice Thomas of sexual harassment . Mr. Biden has since expressed regret to Mrs. Hill.

As a senator, Mr. Biden often questions his nominees emphatically or emotionally on issues like citizenship and privacy.

“Just talk to me as a father,” he asked John G. Roberts Jr. during a Senate confirmation hearing in 2005, seeking to understand Mr. Roberts’ feelings about end-of-life planning. “Just tell me, just philosophically, what do you think?” (Mr Roberts, now chief justice, declined to answer questions about those terms.)

Mr. Peck said that Mr. Biden most likely used a similar method in interviews, with an ear to know what senators will want to hear during the confirmation hearing.

“I’m sure the conversations included the kind of discussion that allowed him to understand a little bit about a potential candidate’s value system,” he said. “He will want someone who can create consensus, who can write strong majority opinions, and who can also express dissenting views in a clear way that everyone can understand. ”

In the White House, Mr. Biden is surrounded by people who know the workings of the court, including chief of staff Ron Klain. He was Biden’s adviser on the Judiciary Committee during the 1991 prosecution of Justice Thomas’ nomination, and he was a top court adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Dana Remus, White House counsel, formerly secretary to Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., a member of the court’s conservative faction.

Among his other advisers on the matter were Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Kamala Harris, vice president, although she was overseas when the interviews began.

Mr. Biden and his advisers are leaning on Doug Jones, a former Alabama senator who will help the final nominee navigate the Senate. Mr. Jones began phoning lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, was among the first to receive a call from a senior White House official who said it was a “call list” call” of former colleagues to gain insight and advice.

During that discussion, according to a person briefed on it, Mr. Grassley told Mr. Jones that he was concerned the White House might only offer Zoom meetings with the nominee and wanted to make sure that any any senator who wants to be interviewed in person. with the nominee there can be one.

In multiple daily interview calls, Mr. Jones referred lawmakers’ concerns to Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, or Reema B. Dodin, the office’s deputy director, a senior administration official said.

Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former special counsel on the Judiciary Committee, praised the team surrounding the president, but said Mr Biden was risking “political costs” ” by taking his time to choose one person as the situation in Ukraine plays out.

“He is facing two issues that are most likely to attract attention and hopefully attract support but also potentially attract opposition,” said Mr. Gerhardt. “There is no margin for error.” Biden interviews 3 Supreme Court candidates as his search narrows

Fry Electronics Team

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