Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History as First Black Woman on Supreme Court
The vote to approve the 51-year-old federal appellate judge was 53-47, with three Republicans – Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney – supporting Biden’s Democratic colleagues.
Jackson overcame Republican resistance in a politicized Supreme Court nomination process.
Jackson will replace the 83-year-old Breyer on a court with a 6-3 conservative majority. Breyer will serve until late June when Jackson will be sworn in. Jackson was Breyer’s Supreme Court clerk early in her career.
Biden invited Jackson to the White House to watch the vote on TV, and he shared a selfie of them beaming after the result.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a national landmark. We’ve taken another step toward a more diverse Supreme Court. I was honored to see Justice Biden tweet.
They’ll speak at a celebration of her confirmation on Friday.
Since its inception in 1789, the Supreme Court has had 115 white members. Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991, is still serving, as is Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991 and died in 1993. Only one Hispanic has served, Sonia Sotomayor.
Jackson will be the sixth female justice. For the first time, four women will sit side by side.
Nominations to the Supreme Court have become a political hot potato
Furthermore, the court has a significant impact on voting laws, LGBT rights, religious freedom, and the death penalty, as well as abortion.
Jackson’s inauguration will be preceded by a series of important decisions, including one that might reverse a 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in the state and another that could expand gun rights.
Sen. Raphael Warnock said, “I’m the father of a young Black girl,” before the vote.
I know how much it meant to Judge Jackson to have overcome prejudice and sexism to be here now. Seeing Judge Jackson climb to the Supreme Court symbolizes our democracy’s promise of development. America had a terrific day.”
He said her “disturbing” judicial record included infusing personal policy prejudices into judgments and sentencing convicted offenders as softly as possible.
Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden’s 2020 presidential running mate, presided over the vote.
“Today we are taking a massive, bold, and vital step on the well-trodden path toward fulfilling our country’s foundational promise,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Jackson said she would contribute her life experiences and viewpoints to the court, including service as a judge, an assigned lawyer for criminal defendants who couldn’t afford an attorney, and a member of a federal commission on criminal sentencing.
It is the goal of Vice President Biden to increase the number of women and minorities in the federal judiciary. With Jackson’s appointment, Biden kept his promise to pick a woman of color to the Supreme Court during the 2020 campaign.
Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor currently sit on the Supreme Court, as do the recently retired Sandra Day O’Connor and the soon-to-be deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
After serving as a federal district judge for eight years, Biden appointed Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last year. Jackson, like Trump’s three conservative appointees, is young enough to serve for decades in a lifetime position.