Update: Biden expected to nominate first black woman to Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court

President Joe Biden will honour his commitment to make an African-American woman his first nomination to the Supreme Court, the White House says.

She would replace the liberal justice, Stephen Breyer, who is expected to retire at the end of the current Supreme Court term in June.

His retirement plans are yet to be officially confirmed.

Justice Breyer’s replacement would not shift the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority.

The Supreme Court plays a key role in American life and is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.

Each of the nine judges – known as justices – serves a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.

“The president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court and certainly stands by that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a news conference.

Only two African Americans, both men – have ever served on the court, Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1967 to 1991 and his successor Justice Clarence Thomas, who is set to become the oldest member on the bench at age 73.

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