Rumblings Grow Against Clyburn’s Favorite For The Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Your briefing on developments in the Supreme Court confirmation battle.

Mutterings against Judge Michelle Childs, a member of President Joe Biden’s shortlist for the Supreme Court, have started bubbling up from the pro-labor world. 

During her time as a lawyer, Childs frequently represented management against employees lodging accusations of racial and gender discrimination, as laid out in a recent piece in the American Prospect

That history is making labor leaders nervous. 

“There’s a long list to choose from,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told the Washington Post. “That’s why it’s great that President Biden can pass on a management-side lawyer like Childs, who has argued disdainfully against workers’ rights in favor of several other candidates who have been in the trenches with workers and have a proven record of upholding worker rights.”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), often credited with resuscitating Biden’s campaign by delivering South Carolina to him in the primaries, is pushing for Childs — hard. He’s been doing media circuits lobbying for her nomination, and was applying pressure long before Justice Stephen Breyer announced his imminent retirement. He’s also been citing the apparent endorsement of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to characterize her as a candidate that can garner bipartisan support. 

Clyburn’s case may get harder to make. The Prospect followed up its report on Child’s labor relations history with a piece on her punitive criminal justice decisions, some of which were tossed out by higher courts. If progressives continue to rally against Childs, it’ll be the congressman’s sway versus key constituencies of the party. 


  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had to clean up his floor remarks today after he said: “Until 1981, this powerful body, the Supreme Court, was all white men.” Justice Thurgood Marshall was confirmed to the Court in 1967. 
  • “Sorry that I misspoke earlier today,” he tweeted. “Of course, I remember the dedication and legal excellence that Thurgood Marshall brought to the Supreme Court.”

Luján Update

  • Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), revealed Tuesday to have been hospitalized for a stroke, gave an update on his return. His office said that he’s set to come back in four to six weeks, and to make a full recovery. 
  • As of now, Biden is expected to name his nominee by the end of February, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said they’re hoping to finish up her confirmation about 40 days after the nomination is sent up. While Luján’s absence may complicate other Senate business, including lower-level nominations, it won’t derail the Supreme Court confirmation if everything stays on the current track.
Latest Judicial Review
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: