Supreme Court Nominations

Federal judge related to House speaker is said to be under consideration for SCOTUS nomination

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U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington, D.C., is reportedly being vetted as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee, according to a lawyer contacted as part of the process.

The lawyer, who was not identified, told the National Law Journal (sub. req.) that he was contacted as part of a “preliminary inquiry” that lasted less than 30 minutes.

The revelation comes after another potential nominee, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, said last week that he was taking himself out of the running. Sandoval is a centrist Republican and a former federal judge.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday that the list of potential nominees “is not closed at this point” and “there are still people being considered for inclusion on the list.”

SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein has predicted that Jackson could get the nomination. According to Goldstein, Jackson is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a former federal public defender with “impeccable” credentials.

Goldstein believes that the nation’s first black president will want to choose a black nominee, and nominating a woman would further Obama’s legacy. Among those who supported Jackson’s judicial confirmation in 2013 was House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is related to Jackson by marriage.

If Republicans reject Jackson or refuse to hold hearings, the nomination could still prove beneficial, Goldstein said. “It is easy to see a political dynamic,” Goldstein writes, “in which candidate Hillary Clinton talks eagerly and often about Judge Brown Jackson in the run-up to the 2016 election, to great effect.”

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