WASHINGTON Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal trial judge in Washington, is being considered to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Law Journal reported on Friday, citing a lawyer who was contacted as part of the vetting process.
The unidentified lawyer was contacted this week and was asked about Jackson’s tenure on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the context of her being a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, the Journal said.
The lawyer described the conversation, which lasted less than 30 minutes, as a “preliminary inquiry,” the Journal reported.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the Journal story.
President Barack Obama is expected to announce a nominee in the next several weeks to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13.
Scalia’s death left the court with four liberals and four conservatives, and Republican leaders in the Senate have vowed to block anyone Obama nominates. The Senate must confirm the nominee.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a moderate Republican, took himself out of consideration for appointment to the Supreme Court this week after his name surfaced as a possible nominee.
If nominated and confirmed Jackson, 45, would be the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court.
She was confirmed to the federal district court in Washington in March 2013.
During her confirmation hearing, she received support from U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who is related to her by marriage, the Journal reported. Jackson’s husband, Patrick Jackson, is the twin brother of Ryan’s brother-in-law William Jackson.
Jackson served as a federal public defender in Washington and then at a law firm. In 2010, she was appointed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
(Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Paul Tait)