COLOMBIA, South Carolina
Michelle Childs, the South Carolina federal judge recently under consideration for a place on the United States Supreme Court, received a top award from a group of litigators in her home state.
Childs was named the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Justice Award, the South Carolina Association for Justice announced Monday. According to the organization, the award is “given to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary judicial leadership and continued contributions to the legal profession.”
Bert “Skip” Utsey, president of the attorneys’ group, said Monday that attorneys across the state had “mixed emotions” when Childs was being considered for the High Court, saying the South Carolina legal community feared losing one of the “most respected jurists” in the country. and the best legal minds” in Washington.
Childs, who served as a federal judge on the South Carolina District Court for more than a decade, was on a shortlist of candidates being considered by President Joe Biden for an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. given the impending retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. She had a litany of high-profile lawyers, including U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, on whose advice Biden pledged during the 2020 campaign to appoint a black woman to the high Court.
Childs’ supporters also included Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who said he was certain Childs “would have been a reliable vote for the liberal bloc on the Court”, but applauded his “open mind and poise that all Americans are looking for”.
Graham, who went on to oppose eventual nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson in a party line Judiciary Committee vote, added that he felt Childs “would have received a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate.” Three other GOP senators have spoken in favor of Jackson’s nomination, all but ensuring her eventual confirmation as the High Court’s first black female justice, assuming unified Democratic support.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina Law School, Childs, 56, practiced employment law at Nexsen Pruet, where she became the firm’s first black partner, before serving as deputy director with the South Carolina Department of Labor and four years with the State Worker’s Compensation Commission.
She served as a state trial court judge for five years before President Barack Obama appointed her to a federal court position in South Carolina.
Last year, Biden nominated Childs for a spot on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A hearing had been scheduled earlier this year but was postponed while it was also being considered for the Supreme Court.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.