Supreme Court nominee: Biden makes decision, with announcement as soon as Friday

The precise timing of the announcement remains fluid, given the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but a Friday ceremony would mark two years to the day when Biden made his initial pledge to choose the first African American female justice during a 2020 primary debate in South Carolina.

But even if the announcement is delayed beyond Friday afternoon, aides said, it will take place no later than Monday, the eve of the State of the Union address.

The first step of the carefully orchestrated rollout calls for the President to formally offer the lifetime position, a step that was poised to take place Thursday evening or Friday morning in hopes of preserving secrecy.

People familiar with the matter declined to say whether the offer had been extended by the President, who was focused on the Russia crisis, but confirmed his decision had been made.

Vice President Kamala Harris postponed a trip to Louisiana scheduled for Friday, raising speculation that an announcement was forthcoming. And White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that there was no circumstance in which Biden would hold his announcement after February, suggesting the crisis in Ukraine hasn’t derailed their goal.

Multiple sources have told CNN that Biden has met with at least three potential nominees. Those women are Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Leondra Kruger, who sits on the California Supreme Court; and J. Michelle Childs, who sits on the US District Court for the District of South Carolina.
Earlier Thursday, a federal court increased the buzz around Jackson as the potential nominee.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit deviated from its typical procedure by issuing an opinion on a Thursday — breaking with its usual schedule of Tuesday and Friday as release days. Notably, Jackson was in the majority in the 2-1 ruling on the case.

Some legal experts took the release as a sign that Jackson could be the nominee and the announcement could come as soon as Friday, especially because a similar scenario had played out with now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Jackson was elevated to the DC Circuit last year by Biden, having previously nearly served a decade on DC’s federal district court. She has long been viewed as the front-runner to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she clerked. Her experience working as a DC public defender has been touted by her backers — as Biden has sought to put more public defenders on the bench.

Although Biden’s pick will not change the balance of the court, the new nominee is likely to serve for decades to come. The court currently has six conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents, and three liberals appointed by Democrats.

This story has been updated with additional information Thursday.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.

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