President Joe Biden has met with three potential Supreme Court nominees – including Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger and J. Michelle Childs, multiple sources tell CNN.
One source familiar with the three meetings – including the meeting with Jackson, who has long been considered the frontrunner – said the President has yet to make up his mind. Two other sources confirmed the meetings with Kruger and Childs.
Biden’s final decision is expected by the end of this month.
The top three contenders are Jackson, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Kruger, who sits on the California Supreme Court; and Childs, who sits on the US District Court for the District of South Carolina.
Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, declined to comment on interviews Biden has conducted but said the President continues to evaluate candidates to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
“The President has not yet chosen a nominee,” Bates said. “He continues to evaluate eminently qualified individuals in the mold of Justice Breyer who have the strongest records, intellect, character, and dedication to the rule of law that anyone could ask for – and all of whom would be deserving of bipartisan support. He looks forward to announcing a nominee this month.”
White House officials have also reached out in the last couple of days to liberal groups to let them know that the President was sticking to his end of the month timeline and urging them to support top tier candidates against attacks from critics, according to a person who was contacted.
Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to the President, told members of the organization Win With Black Woman on a Sunday night video conference call that the White House was “close” to finalizing the pick, according to a source who participated in the call. The group has been supportive of the administration, particularly Black women like Vice President Kamala Harris and Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Richmond urged the dozens of women on the call, details of which were first reported by The Washington Post, to “keep protecting” the process and eventual nominee against attacks that some fear aim to delegitimize the President’s pick because of her race and gender.
Richmond said the White House would continue to pass around talking points, as it has since Biden said he would choose a Black women weeks ago, and would look to keep the circle tight, using only close allies to help spread the news once a decision was made and an announcement imminent.
That evolving crisis with Russia and Ukraine has not derailed the President’s plans to make a decision ahead of his March 1 State of the Union address, as of yet.
White House officials began reaching out to potential Supreme Court candidates to gather more information about their records earlier this month. As part of the normal protocol in the vetting process, the FBI has contacted friends and former colleagues of potential nominees.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
Jasmine Wright contributed to this report.