Joe Biden tried to distance himself from his inveterate record of law enforcement boosterism and drug-warriorism as a presidential hopeful. Biden now appears to be considering replacing Justice Stephen Breyer by a South Carolina judge, who is known for her regrettable history of deference towards the government in criminal justice matters.
J. Michelle Childs is the judge. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. She is well connected to power brokers in the Democratic Party. You can see the full list here. The New York Times has reported, Rep. James Clyburn (D–S.C.Biden was able to get his endorsement from James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who has been directly lobbying Biden for her appointment as SCOTUS. It is an obvious effort to get a political favor by securing a lifetime appointment at the highest court of the country,” commented noted Times reporter Annie Karni, “and, perhaps, the most consequential test yet of the Biden-Clyburn relationship.”
The test is also used to gauge Biden’s willingness and ability to reform criminal justice, which continues an important issue for the Democratic party. This is because Childs’ supporters in criminal justice reform have every reason to be cautious about. It is important to note that Childs are not allowed in criminal justice reform programs. American ProspectAlexander Sammon,’s Alexander Sammon, has described that Childs’s record as a judge at a district court is filled with such punitive criminal justice decisions that these rulings were ultimately overturned by appeal. The words of The New RepublicChilds, according to Matt Ford of the Supreme Court, is “the Supreme Court Shortlister that has left liberals concerned.”
Criminal justice reformers from all walks of the spectrum might be concerned by Childs’ verdict in the Case of United States v. Whaley (2018). A federal prisoner claimed his lawyer did not provide adequate counsel and he didn’t file an appeal. Gerald Whaley stated that he had specifically requested that his attorney file one. The In Roe v. Flores-OrtegaThe Supreme Court ruled that “a lawyer who ignores the instructions of the defendant to file an appeal notice acts in a way that is professional unreasonable” (2000). Childs, however, ruled against Whaley.
4th Circuit rejected Childs’ ruling in unambiguous terms. “In the proceeding below,” explained the appellate judge, “Whaley submitted an affidavit that stated unequivocally that Whaley informed his counsel at sentencing, that Whaley desired to file direct appeal. But that counsel didn’t file one.” A hearing was also required because “the success of the ineffective assistance claim ultimately depends on a determination of credibility.” Childs denied Whaley’s claims without holding an evidentiary hearing. According to the 4th Circuit “The district court misused its discretion” by failing to hold one.
Judges who have “abused their power” are to be described as, at the very least. [her]”Discretion” in this case isn’t the type of BidenSCOTUS pick criminal justice reform advocates hoped for.