Biden Describes 'Deep Dive' on Potential Supreme Court Nominees as He Narrow in on 'About 4 People'

"I'm not looking to make an ideological choice here," the president said as he considers which Black woman to nominate while finding Republican support for his first pick

President Joe Biden
Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

President Joe Biden seems to be narrowing his list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

"I've taken about four people and done a deep dive on them," Biden, 79, told Lester Holt during an NBC News interview that aired Thursday.

The president, who has vowed to select a Black woman to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, said the close look at four candidates means "thorough background checks" were done to "see if there's anything in the background that would make them not qualified."

The women on his shortlist, he added, "are nominees who are incredibly well qualified and documented. They are the honor students that come from the best universities they have experience, some on the bench, some in the practice of law."

Once his choice is made, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings, subjecting the nominee to what is typically intense questioning before the full Senate votes to confirm or reject Biden's selection for the nation's highest court.

Democrats, who hold a narrow majority in the upper house, are expected to act quickly to seat whomever Biden selects.

Speaking with NBC, the president said he intended to solicit conservative support as well, despite the challenge of partisanship.

"Whomever I pick will get a vote from the Republican side for the following reason: I'm not looking to make an ideological choice here," Biden argued to Holt. "I'm looking for someone to replace Judge Breyer, with the same kind of capacity Judge Breyer had, with an open mind who understands the Constitution and interprets it in a way that's consistent with the mainstream interpretation of the Constitution."

After announcing Breyer's retirement, Biden said he will make his choice by the end of the month and set an expectation for the Senate to "move promptly" to confirm his nominee. He also promised to consider the advice of senators from both parties in making his pick.

In advance of the Senate taking up the confirmation process, Biden met with Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee this week.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, who attended a meeting with Biden, said the president indicated he wants to nominate a woman will write "stirring, compelling, lasting arguments," the Associated Press reports.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who was also present at the meeting, said Biden's choice could be a "reset" after former President Donald Trump's appointment of three justices caused a political shift on the court that Democrats opposed.

"This choice is historic not only because it will bring historic diversity of the court," Blumenthal said, "but also the quality of the person whom the president will appoint, I think, will be historic, and will really help unite the country as well as the court."

Blumenthal was also optimistic about GOP support for a Biden pick, who he predicted will be someone with "such compelling personal story, of character and intellect that Republicans will have no choice but to support her in some number."

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