President Joe Biden says he's doing a “deep dive” on “about four people” as he's deciding whom to nominate as a replacement for retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
In an interview Thursday, Biden told NBC that the White House is doing “thorough background checks” to see if there's anything in their background that would disqualify them. Biden has said his nominee will be a Black woman and that he will decide by the end of February.
The weeks-long vetting process, and a gradual narrowing of candidates, is routine for Supreme Court nominations. Biden did not mention the names of any of the candidates.
“The shortlist are nominees who are incredibly well qualified and documented,” Biden said.
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Biden and Senate Democrats have said they want his nominee to have Republican support, a reset from the sharply partisan confirmations of former President Donald Trump's three nominees. He told NBC that he thinks whoever he picks will get Republican votes.
“What I’ve done is I’ve taken about four people and done the deep dive on them,” Biden said.
“I’m not looking to make an ideological choice here,” he said, adding that he wants someone like Breyer, “with an open mind, who understands how the Constitution, interprets it in a way that is consistent with the mainstream interpretation of the Constitution.”
It's unclear if Biden's nominee will be able to win any GOP votes. One possible supporter is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has voted for several of Biden's lower court nominees. He has pushed U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs, who the White House said was under consideration for the job earlier this month.
Also under consideration are Ketanji Brown Jackson, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.