/  01.26.2022

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is planning to retire after almost three decades on the court, multiple outlets reported on Wednesday (Jan. 26). The liberal judge will reportedly stay on until the end of the 2021-2022 term and a replacement is announced, CNN writes.

Breyer, who is 83 years old, revealed his retirement plans to President Joe Biden last week. According to CNN, he will make an official announcement at a White House event with the president as early as Thursday (Jan. 27).

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court for the first time in U.S. history if given the chance. According to reports, possible candidates include Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was confirmed to the U.S. Appeals Court in Washington, D.C. last year. Jackson also previously served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, worked as an assistant federal public defender and was Breyer’s law clerk.

Another contender is Justice Leondra Kruger, who currently serves on the California Supreme Court. South Carolina U.S. Appeals Court Judge Michelle Childs, U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner and civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill are also being considered.

Biden’s pick won’t change the political balance of the Supreme Court, which currently has six conservative judges and three liberals, but the new nominee is expected to be younger and could potentially serve on the court for decades.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s ready to move forward with confirmation hearings for Breyer’s replacement.

President Biden’s nominee will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed,” he said.

In a statement, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray also said that “Black women in America should be able to look at the highest court in the land and finally see themselves represented.”

“It is unacceptable that we have never in our nation’s history had a Black woman sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. I want to change that,” the senator continued. “There is no shortage of exceptional nominees who would serve with the judgment, qualifications and ethical standards each Supreme Court Justice should embody.”