KBJ vote: Ketanji Brown Jackson confirms in US Supreme Court the first black woman to serve as SCOTUS judge after Rand Paul’s arrest

WASHINGTON – The Senate approved Ketanji Brown Jackson in the Supreme Court on Thursday, breaking down a historic barrier, securing her a place as the first black female judge and supporting President Joe Biden’s bipartisan support for his efforts to diversify the court.

Jackson, a 51-year-old appeals judge with nine years of experience in the federal bench, received a 53-47 confirmation, mostly by party line but with three Republican votes. It was chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, also the first black woman to hold this high post.

Jackson will take her place when Judge Stephen Breyer resigns this summer, strengthening the Liberal wing of the Conservative-dominated 6-3 court. She joined Biden at the White House to observe the vote, hugging when it took place.

During a four-day Senate hearing last month, Jackson spoke of her parents ’struggle through racial segregation and said her“ path was clearer ”than theirs as a black American after civil rights laws passed. She studied at Harvard University, served as a public defender, worked for a private law firm, and was appointed a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

She told senators she would enforce the law “without fear or commitment,” and repulsed attempts by Republicans to show her as too lenient with the criminals she convicted.

Jackson will be only the third black judge after Turgud Marshall and Clarence Thomas and the sixth woman. She will join three other women, Sonny Satamayor, Helen Kagan Amy Connie Barrett – meaning that four of the nine judges will be women for the first time in history.

WATCH | Corey Booker on the meaning of Judge Jackson’s historical confirmation

Her final rise in court will be a respite for Democrats, who have fought three tough battles for former President Donald Trump’s candidates and watched Republicans consolidate a conservative majority in the last days of Trump’s confirmation with Connie Barrett’s confirmation. While Jackson will not change the balance, she will preserve the legacy in court for Biden and fulfill his 2020 campaign duty to nominate the first black female judge.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote that Jackson’s statement would be “a joyous day – a joyous day for the Senate, a joyous day for the Supreme Court, a joyous day for America.”

WATCH: Lawyers Discuss Historical Impact of Judge Jackson’s Confirmation

Despite efforts to break her record, Jackson eventually received three Republican votes. The final count was far from the overwhelming bipartisan confirmation for Breer and other judges over the past decades, but it was still a significant bipartisan achievement for Biden in the Senate, which split 50 to 50 after Republican senators worked aggressively to portray Jackson too liberal and soft. crime.

Statements by Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah said the same thing – they could not always agree with Jackson, but they felt she was very well qualified for the job. Collins and Murkowski condemned the growing guerrilla struggle for confirmation, which only worsened during the fighting for Trump’s three elections. Collins said the process was “disrupted”, and Murkowski called it “corrosive” and “with the year increasingly detached from reality.”

Biden, a veteran of the more bipartisan Senate, said since Breyer’s resignation in January that he wanted support from both parties for his candidate who is making history, and invited Republicans to the White House when he made his decision. It was an attempt to reboot from Trump’s presidency, when Democrats loudly opposed the three candidates, and from the end of President Barack Obama’s election, when Republicans blocked candidate Merrick Garland from getting a vote.

After taking the oath, Jackson will become the second youngest member of the court after 50-year-old Barrett.

Jackson’s first term will be marked by cases involving race, both in college and the right to vote. She has vowed not to consider Harvard’s admission program in court because she is a member of its supervisory board. But the court may separate the second case, which is challenging the process of admission to the University of North Carolina, which may allow her to investigate the matter.

Republicans held approval hearings, strongly questioning her record of convictions, including the sentences she handed down in child pornography cases that they thought were too light. Jackson stated that “nothing could be further from the truth” and explained her reasoning in detail. Democrats said she was in line with other judges in her decisions.

A Republican poll on the Judiciary Committee revealed the views of many Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said Wednesday in a speech that Jackson “has never been tough in this area.”

Democrats criticized the interrogation of Republicans.

“You can try to create a straw man here, but it doesn’t hold up,” New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker said during a vote on the committee earlier this week. The panel came to a standstill regarding the 11-11 nomination, but the Senate voted to exempt it from the commission and moved forward with its confirmation.

During last month’s hearing, Booker, who is Black, told Jackson that he felt emotional watching her testimony. He said he saw in her image “mine and your ancestors.”

“But don’t worry, my sister,” Booker said. “Don’t worry. God got it for you. And how do I know that? Because you’re here and I know you need to sit in this place.”

Copyright © 2022, Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment