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What a historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court means for the country

During his campaign, Joe Biden pledged to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court if he were given the opportunity.

That opportunity arose in late January when Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. President Biden since confirmed he will fulfill his promise.

But Supreme Court nominations have been highly contentious in recent years, and the process will most likely involve a protracted fight.

Well before Breyer’s announcement, Biden appointed a Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court to advise him on whether to make reforms to the court. Some Democrats called for reform in response to the obstruction of President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, followed by President Trump placing three Justices on the Court “using some unprecedented tactics.”

We discuss the complex history of the court, why some want changes to how it operates and what the historic nomination of a Black woman would mean for the nation.


Cristina Rodríguez, professor of law at Yale Law School and former co-chair of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States

Michael Klarman, professor of legal history at Harvard Law School

Adam Liptak, reporter for the New York Times covering the U.S. Supreme Court

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.