Politics

Biden predicts his Supreme Court nominee will get Republican votes

Key Points
  • President Joe Biden predicted his eventual Supreme Court nominee will win at least some support from Senate Republicans.
  • "I'm looking for someone to replace [Justice Stephen] Breyer," Biden told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview, "with the same kind of capacity Judge Breyer had."
  • Biden, who is aiming to reveal his pick for the high court by the end of the month, also told Holt that he and his team have "done the deep dive" on about four candidates so far.
President of the United States Joe Biden visits Culpeper to highlight his work to lower healthcare costs for American families, Culpeper, Virginia, on February 10, 2022.
Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Thursday predicted his eventual Supreme Court nominee will win at least some support from Senate Republicans.

"I'm not looking to make an ideological choice here," Biden told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview. "I'm looking for someone to replace [Justice Stephen] Breyer, with the same kind of capacity Judge Breyer had."

That means someone who has "an open mind" and "understands the Constitution, [and] interprets it in a way that is consistent with the mainstream interpretation of the Constitution," Biden said.

"I think whomever I pick will get a vote from Republican side," the Democratic president said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., echoed that optimism later Thursday after he and other Judiciary Democrats met with Biden to discuss the nominee.

"Our goal is to get bipartisan support for the nominee," Durbin told reporters outside the White House.

Biden, who is aiming to reveal his pick for the high court by the end of the month, also told Holt that he and his team have "done the deep dive" on about four candidates so far, which he said entails thorough background checks.

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The names on the shortlist are "incredibly well qualified," Biden said. "They were the honor students. They come from the best universities. They have experience, some on the bench, some in the practice."

Breyer, the oldest justice on the high court and one of just three liberals on the nine-seat bench, has said he plans to retire in the summer. Biden has vowed to nominate a Black woman to succeed him, rankling some Senate Republicans.

The White House has not released an official list of candidates, but a handful of judges have emerged as likely contenders.

One of the most discussed is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. All 50 Senate Democrats supported Brown's nomination to the appellate bench, as did Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski.

Also in serious contention is J. Michelle Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina whose nomination to the D.C. appeals court was reportedly put on hold as Biden considers her for the high court.

Childs is a favorite of Rep. James Clyburn, the high-ranking Democrat who is credited with reviving Biden's presidential candidacy at a crucial moment in the 2020 primary race.