Senate

Manchin ‘anxious’ to confirm Breyer’s Supreme Court successor

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) indicated on Monday that he supports moving quickly to confirm a successor for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who is expected to retire over the summer.  

“I think that basically, especially if it’s somebody who’s already been vetted — that we put on one of the benches before, circuit or district — that’ll make it go even quicker. But, you know, we just we have to fill the seat … and I’m anxious to get that done,” Manchin told reporters.  

Manchin’s comments come after Breyer announced last week that he intended to retire, giving Biden his first chance to fill a Supreme Court seat ahead of the midterms, when Democrats could lose control of Congress. Biden has said he intends to nominate someone by the end of the month, which will tee off a frantic fight in the Senate. Democrats are eyeing moving a nomination in the same amount of time it took for Republicans to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett once Trump announced her nomination: 30 days.  

Several of the nominees under consideration have previously been confirmed by the Senate to lower court seats. Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is widely seen as the front-runner to be nominated as Breyer’s replacement, was confirmed by the Senate last year to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. J. Michelle Childs, who the White House confirmed was under consideration, currently serves as a federal district court judge and was nominated recently to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  

Circuit Judge Eunice Lee and Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi have both been floated as potential candidates and were both confirmed by the Senate last year. 

Manchin added on Monday that he thought Biden was considering “excellent names” and defended the president’s pledge to nominate the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, which has drawn criticism from some Republicans. 

“This time has come. And I think it’s great to have this many qualified — I mean, extremely qualified people that can serve and I think serve justice,” Manchin said.  

“[It is] basically just a balance that needs to be done to represent who we are as a nation,” he added. 

Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to peel off at least one GOP senator to support whoever Biden nominates, given both the historic nature of the nomination and the fact that it won’t change the balance of the 6-3 conservative court.  

If Republicans unite in opposition, Democrats can confirm the nominee on their own if all 50 of their members stick together. Though Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have been viewed as hurdles for some of the party’s legislative goals, including the Build Back Better spending legislation and filibuster reform, they’ve supported every judicial nominee that Biden has gotten confirmed by the Senate so far.  

Manchin, the most conservative member of the Senate Democratic caucus, also indicated late last week that he was open to supporting a nominee who was ideologically more liberal that he was. 

“As far as just the philosophical beliefs, no, that will not prohibit me from supporting somebody,” Manchin said. 

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema SCOTUS Stephen Breyer Supreme Court Supreme Court nomination

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