Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to Supreme Court, making history as first Black female justice

Washington – The Senate voted in favor Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson The Supreme Court on Thursday, consolidating its place in history as the first black woman to serve in the country’s highest court.

Jackson’s confirmation as the 116th justice in U.S. history received bipartisan support, with a final vote of 53 to 47 in the upper house. Three Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined all 50 Democrats in support of presidential candidate Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and the first colored woman to hold the post, chaired the Senate during the vote.

“In this vote, there are 53 votes. There are 47 against and this nomination has been confirmed,” Harris said, provoking applause from the senator.

Jackson’s appointment to the High Court is likely to be a significant component of Mr. Biden’s legacy and marked his first opportunity to leave his mark on the Supreme Court. But Jackson will not immediately take the bench, as will judge Stephen Breyer, whose place she will fill ready to retire at the end of the Supreme Court term this summer.

Mr. Biden watched the vote with Jackson in Roosevelt’s White House room. Photographers film the two hugging as the Senate crosses the threshold needed to confirm it.

President Biden hugged Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as they watched the Senate vote on her confirmation from Roosevelt’s White House room in Washington on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Susan Walsh / AP

“This is a wonderful day, a joyous day, an inspiring day for the Senate, for the Supreme Court and for the United States,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote. “It’s one of the brightest lights today, and hopefully it’s a metaphor, an indication of many more bright lights to come.”

The approval of Jackson’s nomination by the evenly divided Senate completed the confirmation process marked by attempts by Republicans to portray her as a crime-friendly judge who will pass laws from the bench.

Their criticisms, rooted in Jackson’s record of child pornography while serving as a federal trial judge, failed to thwart efforts by the White House and Democratic Senate leaders to gain bipartisan support for Jackson’s nomination, breaking party polarization in the recent Supreme Court Confirmation. But the accusations gave Republicans as much food as they did they are positioned as a party of law and order on the eve of the November by-elections.

Senate leaders quickly set out to begin the confirmation process after Mr. Biden, former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Jackson as his election to the Supreme Court in late February. By choosing Jackson, Mr. Biden has fulfilled his promise from the 2020 presidential campaign to nominate the first black woman for the High Court.

During a four-day confirmation hearing in March, Jackson endured nearly 24 hours of questioning by 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, after which the council came to a standstill on Monday in approving her nomination along party lines.

Draw 11-11 votes in the Judiciary Committee forced procedural voting in the full Senate to advance Jackson’s nomination. As the upper house voted to remove Jackson’s nomination from the committee, and three Republicans joined the Democrats in the vote, efforts highlighted how bitter the recent struggle for confirmation has become and the united GOP opposition to her appointment.

Ahead of the vote, Murkowski said in a statement announcing her support for Jackson that her decision was based in part on her rejection of “the corrosive politicization of the Supreme Court candidate review process, which is getting worse on both sides of the aisle.” more detached from reality. “

Jackson will join the Supreme Court after serving nearly a year in the U.S. District Court of Appeals, which is considered the second most powerful court in the country. In his first term in the High Court, Jackson will hear a a couple of cases involving admission policy at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, as well as redistriction i religious freedom disputes. Jackson has promised to get away with it from a legal battle at Harvard, as a member of the school’s supervisory board, one of the school’s two governing bodies.

While her appointment will not change the ideological composition of the Supreme Court, which boasts a conservative majority of 6-3, Jackson will be the second youngest judge at 51, which is likely to ensure decades of service. Her appointment is also the first time that two African-Americans will sit in the Supreme Court at the same time and the first time that four women in the High Court will serve together.

The Senate held a hearing to confirm that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a Supreme Court judge
Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judicial Confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Jackson also brings professional diversity to the bench, as he has served as an assistant public defender and in federal court in Washington. There has never been a Supreme Court judge who has worked as a public defense attorney, and Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the only current member of the court to have worked in the U.S. District Court. She was also a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and worked in private practice after graduating from Harvard and Harvard Law School.

During the confirmation hearing, Jackson demonstrated the arc of the nation’s history through the story of her life and the lives of her parents – from her mother and father attending separate schools in Florida to being ready to become the first black woman to sit on national supreme court. one generation “. Looking back on her legal career, she promised to be an independent lawyer who approaches cases from a position of neutrality.

“I decide on cases from a neutral position. I assess the facts and interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or affection, in accordance with my judicial oath,” she told senators at her confirmation hearings. “I know that my role as a judge is limited, that the Constitution only authorizes me to decide on cases and controversies that are properly presented, and I know that my role as a judge is further limited by careful adherence to precedent.”

However, those assurances did not convince most Republican senators.

Many have argued over Jackson’s refusal to label her judicial philosophy, which she described as a multi-step methodology, and her unwillingness to take a stand on adding a seat to the Supreme Court, even though her legal qualifications were recognized. However, the most frequent criticism of Jackson was directed at her sentencing perpetrators in cases of child pornography, which GOP senators claimed was several times below federal guidelines.

“What the Senate process has shown has been disturbing,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor reviewing Jackson’s file. “In Judge Jackson’s courtroom, the plain legal text and clear intent of Congress did not match what the judge acknowledged to be her personal disagreements over politics.”

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement Monday that if Republicans had controlled the Senate, Jackson would not have received a confirmation hearing. He also predicted that candidates for Democrat-nominated judges would be rejected if they were considered too liberal if the GOP regained a majority in the upper house.

“We should be like trained seals here, applauding when you name a liberal,” Graham said. “It won’t work.”

The South Carolina senator was one of three Republicans, with Collins and Murkowski, who supported Jackson’s nomination for DC Circuit, but he intends to vote against her confirmation in the Supreme Court.

Democrats, meanwhile, during the confirmation process sought to highlight the historical nature of Jackson’s nomination and final Senate approval.

“With the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at the country’s highest court, we are not only making history, we are continuing a great American tradition, elevating one of our nation’s best and brightest legal minds to an honorary position,” Senate Justice Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said. is in the Senate. “There is no one who deserves this high honor anymore. As we learned over the past month, she is the best of us.”

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