COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Following the official announcement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s upcoming resignation, Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) on Thursday spoke about the promise that President Joe Biden made at his urging to nominate the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court.
After the announcement — which then-candidate Biden made at a Charleston debate in February of 2020 — Clyburn gave his endorsement. Many credit Clyburn and the Black electorate with delivering a Biden presidency.
President Biden on Thursday vowed to make good on his promise, saying “the person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”
Now, Clyburn is hoping his influence can once again propel South Carolina into the national spotlight, championing South Carolina Judge Michelle Childs as Breyer’s replacement.
Childs moved to Columbia at age 13. She attended Columbia High School and received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida before earning her J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law. She also holds a M.A. from the University of South Carolina School of Business and an LL.M from Duke University School of Law.
Clyburn said that Childs is well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, noting her years of experience serving on South Carolina courts before being nominated by then-President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. She was confirmed in 2010 with bipartisan support.
Most recently, Childs was nominated by President Biden — but has not yet been confirmed — to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A confirmation hearing is expected during the first week of February.
Childs is currently president of the Federal Judges Association.
In addition to acknowledging her achievements, Clyburn highlighted the unique perspective Childs could bring coming from a humble background. Childs is one of only two people on a ‘shortlist’ of seven contenders that did not receive an Ivy League education.
“Coming out of a blue-collar family, growing up in a single-parent household, and having the kind of experiences of… so many people that she will be sitting in judgement of. It is good for judges and other people in public office to have the ability to empathize, which you cannot do unless you have the experiences to understand what has gone on before you.
The widespread regard for Childs is evident, as Clyburn said that both South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott — who are both republicans — spoke highly of Childs.
Clyburn said that he has not talked to President Biden since the announcement of Breyer’s stepping down, but that he has made his support for Childs clear. He also said that he is not sure if President Biden has met Childs, but “he has met a lot of people who think very highly of her.” Clyburn said that he and President Biden had plans to meet in the first week of February before the announcement came out.
President Biden said that he plans to announce his nominee by the end of February.