President Joe Biden is considering Judge J. Michelle Childs as a potential candidate to succeed Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires later this year, a White House spokesman confirmed Friday night.
Childs, a judge at the U.S. District Court in South Carolina, is the first person the Biden administration has publicly identified as a possible candidate in a selection process expected to last until February. Biden recently nominated Childs for a spot on the DC Circuit.
"Judge Childs is among several people being considered for the Supreme Court and we will not move her nomination to the Court of Appeal while the President is considering her for this vacancy," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
The Washington Post first reported the White House's confirmation that Biden was considering Childs.
Childs is the preferred choice of House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., a longtime Biden ally who played a key role in encouraging the president to promise on the campaign track that he would nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court if he got the apartment.
Childs had been scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week for a confirmation hearing on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, but the White House is waiting to have her testify while she is pending before the Supreme Court.
In addition to Childs, high-profile candidates for the Supreme Court include Federal Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. A source familiar with the White House trial told NBC News this week that two others are under consideration: New York University law professor Melissa Murray and Wilhelmina Wright, a judge at the U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
In his statement Friday, Bates said any "reporting indicating that the president is only seriously considering three potential nominees is wrong."
Breyer, 83, is the oldest member of the court and the second-longest sitting after Judge Clarence Thomas. After 27 years on the bench - and as one of three remaining liberal judges - progressive activists have pressured him to resign while Democrats control Congress.