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

On the one hand, implied that his support was not guaranteed, while on the other, he said he could support someone more liberal than himself. 

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

The two takes were highlighted by conservative and liberal media, respectively. 

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. So it would not bother me having a person who was sound in their thought process, who had been sound in their disbursement of justice and the rule of law, just because their personal beliefs [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, Sinema Will Be Key Players

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

Whoever Biden nominates, the president will still need to appease all 50 Democrat Senators, including Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who have no problem opposing their party on key 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.

But their voting record often reflects their constituency. In Manchin’s home state of West Virginia, Donald Trump beat Biden in 2020 by nearly 40 points.

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