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California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger Is Considered A Frontrunner For US Supreme Court

Leondra Kruger, wearing glasses and a dark judge's robe, smiles in her official black and white photo from the California Supreme Court.
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring this year, giving President Joe Biden the chance to fulfill a campaign promise of appointing the first Black woman to the high court.

Leondra Kruger, a California Supreme Court Justice who was born in Southern California, is considered an early frontrunner for Breyer’s soon-to-be vacant spot. Kruger attended high school in Pasadena before heading to Harvard for her undergraduate studies, according to the California Supreme Court’s website.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, said he has "no doubts" Kruger would get enough votes to be confirmed, but she may face pushback from more progressive lawmakers.

"Overall, she's been a moderate justice on the California Supreme Court, and at times even conservative on some criminal justice issues," Chemerinsky told LAist. "And I think the question is going to be raised by progressives is whether she's liberal enough to be picked by a Democratic president."

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Chemerinsky said Kruger has the "ideal resume" for a Supreme Court nominee. The 45-year-old justice was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. She clerked for former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and worked in the U.S. Solicitor General's office before joining the California Supreme Court in 2014.

Kimberly Robinson, who covers the high court for Bloomberg Law, echoed Chemerinsky's thoughts on Kruger's qualifications.

"She has about a dozen Supreme Court arguments under her belt," Robinson said. "On the California Supreme Court, she's seen as definitely a Democratic nominee, but more of a centrist. I think that's a role that she would slip into Justice Breyer very well."

Breyer has served more than two decades on the nation's highest court. He’s expected to retire after the Supreme Court’s current term comes to a close this summer.

If selected, Kruger would be the youngest justice to take the bench since Clarence Thomas was picked in 1991.