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Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to Supreme Court, first Black woman justice


U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, meets with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D.WI), meets with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Capitol Hill, Washington, March 28, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the 116th justice — and the first Black woman — to serve on the top U.S. court.

Jackson received 53 votes to 47 in the final vote, which showed bipartisan support. Three Republicans joined all Democrats to raise the 51-year old federal judge to lifetime status on the highest court.

Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., Senate Majority Leader, stated that while this is a momentous occasion for Judge Jackson it was also a momentous moment for America, as America rises to a better union.

Jackson is the first Supreme Court nominee for President Joe Biden. Retired Justice Stephen Breyer, aged 83, will be replaced by Jackson.

Kamala Harris, Vice President, was the first Black woman to be elected to that office.

Jackson joins a court that is becoming more conservative after the nominations of three former president Donald Trump nominees. Jackson’s addition will keep the court’s liberal wings, currently outnumbered by the conservative bloc at 6-3.

Just five women — Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett — have served on the Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall (Black) and Clarence Thomas (Black), have been ever appointed to the court. The high court has never had a Black woman sit on it.

Jackson also has the potential to be the Supreme Court justice who is first to have been a public defense attorney. Democrats claim that Jackson’s experience will give a new perspective on the court, which has been historically homogeneous.

Republicans however have attempted to use Jackson’s experiences as a public-defender against her, accusing her, among other things, of sympathizing or supporting the actions of past clients.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was criticised for making a comment Tuesday on the Senate Floor that former Justice Robert Jackson had “left the Supreme Court” to travel to Nuremberg to prosecute the case against Nazis, while this Judge Jackson may have been there to defend them.”

Jackson received that and other criticisms during the more than 23-hour-long questioning period over two days of exhausting confirmation hearings last month at Senate Judiciary Committee.

Jackson’s qualifications and temperament weren’t often in question. However, Republicans focused their attention on Jackson’s judicial history, asserting that Jackson’s decisions show her willingness to legislate directly from the bench. She was also accused of giving light punishments and focusing on her sentencing records in child-pornography case.

Fact-checkersThey have refuted that assertion, and Democratic Committee members aggressively reacted to their Republicans’ critiques.

Jackson received the highest rating from American Bar Association members, who unanimously gave him “Best in Class”Well QualifiedJackson was also protected during Jackson’s confirmation hearings.

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