Senate Judiciary chair wants Supreme Court pick confirmed by early April

Aaron Schwartz
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he wants the Senate to confirm President Biden’s forthcoming Supreme Court nominee by the start of a two-week April break, signaling he wants the president to move faster than his end-of-the-month deadline. 

“I’d like to get this done before the Easter break because that adds two weeks to the process, and I think we can do it. … We would like to complete it on the floor before we break for Easter, and that’s April the 9th,” Durbin told reporters on Thursday. 

Durbin’s timeline largely aligns to the one-month to 40-day window that Democrats have floated since Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he intended to retire over the summer, assuming his successor had been confirmed by the Senate. 

The Senate, which is poised to leave town as early as Thursday for a one-week break, will return on Feb. 28, Biden’s intended deadline for naming his Supreme Court pick. After that, the Senate will be in session through April 8 and then leave Washington until April 25. 

Durbin noted that he spoke to the White House on Thursday. White House chief of staff Ron Klain is also expected to attend a Senate Democratic lunch Thursday, where they are expected to talk about the Supreme Court in addition to Biden’s agenda for the rest of the year. 

Durbin said that he would like Biden to name his Supreme Court pick before his end-of-the-month deadline, adding that he was “a little more anxious to see if we could get to moving more quickly than the end of the month.”

“It’s more challenging,” Durbin added. “It depends on the person too. Some of the nominees have been through the committee.” 

The White House has refused to disclose when Biden is meeting with potential Supreme Court picks, though principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday Biden could conduct interviews for Breyer’s replacement “as soon as this week.” 

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and South Carolina District Judge J. Michelle Childs are viewed as the front-runners to fill the vacancy, though Biden in an interview last week said he was looking closely at “about four” candidates.

“The president will tell you when there’s a nominee,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the Wednesday briefing. “The good news is March 1 is around the corner. So, you know, we remain on track, and you don’t have too much longer to wait.”

Judiciary Committee Democrats, including Durbin, have avoided backing a specific nominee but have been signaling that they would like Biden to move quickly.

Tags Chuck Schumer Dick Durbin Jen Psaki Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Ron Klain Senate Judiciary Committee Stephen Breyer Supreme Court nomination

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