WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21:  Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer participates in a panel on "Lessons from the Past for the Future of Human Rights: A Conversation" at the Gewirz Student Center on the campus of the Georgetown University Law Center April 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized by the law center, the New York Review of Books and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law the forum focused on the future of human rights.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Schumer wants Senate to 'move quickly' through the nomination process to replace Justice Stephen Breyer
03:20 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden committed to nominating the nation’s first Black female Supreme Court justice, as he honored retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the White House on Thursday.

“The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”

Breyer’s departure from the court gives the President his first opportunity to select a Supreme Court justice – a consequential choice that will make history, shape Biden’s presidential legacy for decades to come and give Democrats the chance to claim a much-needed political victory ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Biden said during Thursday’s ceremony in the Roosevelt Room that he expects to choose a nominee before the end of February. The President said the selection process will be “rigorous,” and that he will “select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency.”

Though a nominee has not been selected, Breyer’s replacement is widely expected be a younger, liberal judge who could serve on the court for decades. The confirmation would not alter the Supreme Court’s ideological balance – the court has six conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents and three liberals appointed by Democrats.

In remarks from the White House, Biden – with Breyer by his side – said the justice’s retirement was “bittersweet” and noted that their friendship stretches back 40 years.