Justice Stephen Breyer will be succeeded by Jackson, who will be the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Senate confirms Biden nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court.
Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.
The vote was 53-47 in favor of Jackson, with Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah joining the Democrats in their support. The Republican senators had earlier stated their support for the historic confirmation, citing her qualifications. A confirmation vote was held Thursday afternoon, with Vice President Kamala Harris in charge.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus gathered at the back of the Senate chamber to mark the occasion. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff sat in the visitor’s gallery and observed the vote as Harris presided. After the final result was announced, the chamber erupted in excitement, including a standing ovation and several embraces among Democrats.
Jackson watched the Senate vote on her Supreme Court nominee with President Biden and other top White House employees in the Roosevelt Room.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” Biden wrote on Twitter with a selfie he took with the newly confirmed Jackson. “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her.”
Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her. pic.twitter.com/K8SAh25NL5
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 7, 2022
Democrats reminisced about Justice Jackson’s legacy and how he will be viewed in the future. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, remarked before the vote, “Seeing Judge Jackson ascend to the Supreme Court reflects the promise of progress on which our democracy rests. What a great day it is in America today.”
D.-N.Y. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer termed it “a joyful and uplifting day.” Jubilant Sen. Chuck Schumer exited the Senate floor with a double thumbs up and a broad smile for the cameras after the winning vote, which was delayed for approximately 15 minutes when Sen. Raul Paul, R-Ky., was missing from his seat.
In a statement, Schumer called “amazing day not only for Justice Brown Jackson but for the United States of America,”. “sometimes you take a step back, but today we took a giant step forward.” Schumer said of the long journey to equality. Several factors were at play in Republicans’ opposition to Jackson, including her refusal to answer questions about court-packing; her inability to define “woman”; and her “soft on crime” sentence record, including that of multiple child pornography offenders.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted that “Today the far left will get the Supreme Court justice they wanted”. To paraphrase Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: “I believe she will prove to be the furthest left of any justice to have served on the Supreme Court.” Confirmation hearings were a rollercoaster, with Jackson shedding tears and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, launching a barrage of questions on her sentence record as a federal judge.
Republicans grilled Jackson for two days in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, asking why she sentenced a few child pornography offenders to jail terms that were less than what prosecutors and sentencing guidelines allowed, and accused her of being too lenient on criminals. A “tiny fraction of my statements” can’t describe Jackson’s entire career, she insisted.
Democrats, on the other hand, lauded Jackson’s poise under duress and sought to draw attention to all of his accomplishments. Several senators expressed their admiration for Jackson’s accomplishments as a Black woman in the United States, which brought tears to Jackson’s eyes. During the hearing, Jackson made a plea to young people: “I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path,” he said. “I want them to know that they can do and be anything. … I would tell them to persevere.”
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Jackson is a Harvard Law School alumnus. As a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, federal public defender, and attorney at four of the nation’s most prestigious law firms, she previously served as a federal district court judge.
“first and only justice with experience as a public defender,” Schumer emphasized that Jackson will also be making history. “We’re proud of that. America is proud of that,” Schumer commented, according to the New York Times.
Justice Stephen Breyer will step down at the end of the court’s 2021-22 term, which might occur in late June or early July of that year. Jackson will take his place. Justices selected by Republican presidents will continue to make up the majority on the Supreme Court.