Could Joe Manchin Sink Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee?

On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin sent mixed messages about President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court upcoming nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.

One side implied his inability to support the candidate, the other said that he was open to supporting someone who is more liberal than he. 

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Biden in 2020: ‘I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a black woman on the Supreme Court’

These two perspectives were distinguished by liberal and conservative media. 

Breitbart noted that Manchin would not be a rubber stamp for Biden, highlighting Manchin’s comments: “I take my Constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a nominee to the Supreme Court very seriously. I look forward to meeting with and evaluating the qualifications of President Biden’s nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy.”

Alternatively, The Hill highlighted Manchin’s comments about a more liberal nominee: “It’s not too hard to get more liberal than me. It wouldn’t bother me to have someone who thought clearly and who is able to disburse justice according the law. [are different].”

Manchin’s comments, highly sought after given the razor-thin Democrat advantage in the Senate and his independent streak, come after White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that Biden intends to replace Breyer with a black woman on the court.

In 2020, Biden vowed to appoint a woman of color to the high court, “I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we, in fact, get every representation.”

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Democrat Sens. Manchin and Sinema will be key players

Manchin and Sinema have often been outliers in their party regarding big parts of the Biden administration’s agenda.

No matter who Biden nominates, the president must still appease all 50 Democrat Senators. Joe Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Silena and others are open to opposing the party’s position on important issues.

Both Democrats have often been a thorn in their party’s side since Biden was elected. Manchin and Sinema both opposed Biden’s big spending “Build Back Better” agenda.

Their voting records often reflect their constituents. In Manchin’s home state of West Virginia, Donald Trump beat Biden in 2020 by nearly 40 points.