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Biden's plan to nominate Black woman to Supreme Court excites IU students

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jan 28, 2022

BLOOMINGTON — Since news broke this week that Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, speculation over who will replace him has been on the mind of many Americans.

IU students Haleigh Chube, Ky Freeman, and Zoe Marshalleck, say it's an opportunity for the court to look more like the United States of America. President Joe Biden says he will nominate a Black woman to fill Breyer's spot.

"We don't have to imagine anymore. That is the actual reality and that's beautiful to say that is our reality to allow people to see they have the capacity to venture in these high achieving spaces," Freeman said.

Chube and Marshalleck are law students at IU Maurer School of Law

"Something that is just really astonishing is that we read these cases all the time and you see Supreme Court decisions. It's Breyer, Scalia, Thomas and it's people who don't look like you," Chube said. "To think I have two years of law school left and I might read an opinion from someone who looks like me, it's astonishing. That's the only word I have. I'm in awe. It's almost unbelievable, but amazing."

"It gives me a sense of confidence, a sense of certainty, it's extremely relieving to know that one of us made it to that level, finally. Imagine what we can do next," Marshalleck said.

Freeman can speak, somewhat, to the pressure on whoever President Joe Biden chooses will face. He is the first Black and openly gay student body president at IU. He says being the first at anything means you help set the standard for future generations. The Supreme Court could soon have a voice from a background that's never been represented.

"It's so much more when you're on the Supreme Court because now you're a person in the room. Now she has a say in everything. That shifts our conversations. It shifts the way cases are going to be regarded, the various nuances," Freeman said.

Biden says he will announce his pick to replace Breyer by the end of February. His first choice is believed to be 51-year-old judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She's a former clerk to Justice Breyer who was confirmed to the D.C. Court of appeals with some Republican support last year.

Other contenders includeJudge Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court, Judge Leslie Abrams Gardnerof the U.S. District Court of Georgia and Judge J. Michelle Childs of the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.

Whomever is chosen is expected to serve on the highest court for decades.

The nomination process for President Biden's choice could be contentious. An evenly-split Senate means every Democrat in the chamber will need to back the nominee if no Republicans get on board.

Breyer willl retire at the end of the court's term in June. He spent 27 years in his seat and is known for building compromise. His legacy includes supporting the affordable care act, expanding free speech, and defending abortion rights.