Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned President Biden on Thursday not to “outsource” his Supreme Court nominee to the “radical left” following the retirement announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer.
“Looking ahead — the American people elected a Senate that is evenly split at 50-50. To the degree that President Biden received a mandate, it was to govern from the middle, steward our institutions, and unite America,” McConnell said in a statement.
“The President must not outsource this important decision to the radical left. The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution.”
The remarks from the Kentucky Republican come as a pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court was reiterated by President Biden on Thursday during an event with Breyer.
“I’ve made no decision except one: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character experience and integrity,” Biden said.
In a statement Thursday, Breyer said he plans to leave after the Supreme Court’s current term ends and after his successor has been confirmed by the Senate.
Breyer used his appearance with Biden to express hope in the endurance of what he characterized as America’s long-running “experiment” in democratic governance.
McConnell also congratulated Breyer on his retirement, praising his “intelligence, rigor, and good-faith scholarly engagement.”
Among the leading candidates for Breyer’s seat are Ketanji Brown Jackson from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, South Carolina federal judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.
Biden said that he intended to make his decision of a Supreme Court nominee known before the end of February and said he would meet with potential candidates in the coming weeks.
Democrats are eager to move quickly on the Supreme Court nomination process, especially ahead of the November midterms as Democrats seek to guard their majority in both chambers.