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Liberals gather in Ketanji Brown Jackson's corner as Biden's Supreme Court decision nears

A dozen progressive groups revealed their preferred candidate, without actually naming anyone, in a letter to the president.
Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in her office this month.Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is on the cusp of picking a Supreme Court nominee, and a dozen progressive groups are revealing their preferred candidate among the finalists: U.S. Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

In a Wednesday letter to Biden led by the courts-focused Demand Justice, the 12 groups nudge him to nominate someone with a background working as a public defender or in civil rights.

"As you consider your most important judicial nomination to date, we urge you to build on your commitment to professional diversity by appointing someone with civil rights or public defense experience to the Supreme Court," they write in the letter, as first reported by NBC News.

The letter comes one day after NBC News and other outlets reported that Biden has interviewed two other finalists in addition to Jackson: U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. Of the three, only Jackson has the background that the progressives mention in the letter.

Although they didn't name names, the letter appears unmistakably crafted to boost Jackson, who is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the final stretch before a decision.

Demand Justice has already produced ads to support Jackson in case she’s chosen, a source familiar with the matter said.

The left-leaning groups that signed the letter — which also include MoveOn, Indivisible, Justice Democrats and Demos — noted the Biden White House's push to put more public defenders and civil rights lawyers on the courts, and by implication fewer corporate lawyers and prosecutors.

"Since then, you have nominated a record-breaking number of former public defenders and a phenomenal group of civil rights lawyers to the bench," they write to Biden. "These lawyers bring a much-needed different perspective to a court system that too often favors the wealthy and corporations."

Biden, who has promised to nominate a Black woman for the high court, has said he intends to announce his choice no later than Monday. He has faced conflicting pressures, with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., calling on him to pick Childs, who is from his home state. A decision could come as early as this week.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the chair of the Judiciary Committee, has said he wants to see Biden's nominee confirmed by April 9.