All eyes turned to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Wednesday after news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was considering retirement at the age of 83.

President Joe Biden previously made a campaign promise to voters that if given the opportunity during his presidency, he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is on that shortlist.

Last year, the 51-year-old federal judge was promoted from Federal District Court in the District of Columbia to the U.S. Court of Appeals. She was also already put through the Senate confirmation process, according to The New York Times, back in July.

President Biden has yet to announce his pick, especially since Stephen Breyer has not officially announced his plans for retirement, but many political analysts believe that Ketanji Brown will be near the top of the list as his likely replacement.

Born in Washington, D.C., but raised in Miami, Fl., Jackson later attended Harvard University and served as a clerk for Justice Breyer from 1999-2000.

She went on to work for the United States Sentencing Commission, became a federal public defender, and then served as a district court judge at the capitol after being nominated by former President Barack Obama.

Judge Jackson is also married to surgeon Patrick G. Jackson. He is the twin brother of former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s brother-in-law, William Jackson. Ryan even once vouched for Jackson back in 2012 when she was nominated to the federal district court by Obama. At the time, he stated that “Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity is unequivocal.”

She was up for a Supreme Court seat in 2016 before being passed for Merrick Garland. His accession to the Supreme Court never occurred, however, and the Republicans fought the pick until Donald Trump became President and nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch.

During Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s time as a federal district court judge, she fought to force President Trump to obey congressional subpoenas into the Russian election interference investigation.

“The primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” she said at the time. “They do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1994
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Now serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals, she is still fighting to subpoena Trump and his political allies after more than four years. But the investigation focuses on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Her record as a judge is otherwise uncontroversial, especially for Democrats. On the United States Sentencing Commission, she even ruled to reduce drug sentences for non-violent offenders.

With full Democratic support in the Senate, and a tying vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, Joe Biden would be able to appoint any justice he sees fit.

Other choices could be Leondra Kruger, 45, an associate justice on the California Supreme Court. She clerked for the late Justice John Paul Stevens, but has sided with more conservative judges in California on many decisions throughout her seven years.

J. Michelle Childs, a federal judge from South Carolina, Minnesota Judge Wilhelmina Wright, and Georgia Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, are also considered in the running for the seat. Wright is a favorite of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Leslie Abrams Gardner is the sister of progressive advocate Stacey Abrams.

These shortlist picks only remain on the list, however, if President Joe Biden intends to keep his promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Justice Breyer will still sit for landmark decisions such as the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health abortion case that challenges Roe v. Wade, as well as a major decision on “proper cause” for concealed carry firearms.