AP

Jackson approved as first Black female Supreme Court justice

Apr 7, 2022, 12:21 PM | Updated: 12:26 pm
President Joe Biden goes to hug Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as they watch the...
President Joe Biden goes to hug Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as they watch the Senate vote on her confirmation from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Thursday, shattering a historic barrier by securing her place as the first Black female justice and giving President Joe Biden a bipartisan endorsement for his effort to diversify the court.

Jackson, a 51 year-old appeals court judge with nine years experience on the federal bench, was confirmed 53-47, mostly along party lines but with three Republican votes. Presiding was Vice President Kamala Harris, also the first Black woman to reach that high office.

Jackson will take her seat when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer, solidifying the liberal wing of the 6-3 conservative-dominated court. She joined Biden at the White House to watch the vote, embracing as it came in.

During the four days of Senate hearings last month, Jackson spoke of her parents’ struggles through racial segregation and said her “path was clearer” than theirs as a Black American after the enactment of civil rights laws. She attended Harvard University, served as a public defender, worked at a private law firm and was appointed as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

She told senators she would apply the law “without fear or favor,” and pushed back on Republican attempts to portray her as too lenient on criminals she had sentenced.

Jackson will be just the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She will join three other women, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan Amy Coney Barrett – meaning that four of the nine justices will be women for the first time in history.

Her eventual elevation to the court will be a respite for Democrats who fought three bruising battles over former President Donald Trump’s nominees and watched Republicans cement a conservative majority in the final days of Trump’s term with the confirmation of Coney Barrett. While Jackson won’t change the balance, she will secure a legacy on the court for Biden and fulfill his 2020 campaign pledge to nominate the first Black female justice.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote that Jackson’s confirmation would be a “joyous day — joyous for the Senate, joyous for the Supreme Court, joyous for America.”

Despite the efforts to tarnish her record, Jackson eventually won three GOP votes. The final tally was far from the overwhelming bipartisan confirmations for Breyer and other justices in decades past, but it was still a significant bipartisan accomplishment for Biden in the 50-50 split Senate after GOP senators aggressively worked to paint Jackson as too liberal and soft on crime.

Statements from Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah all said the same thing — they might not always agree with Jackson, but they found her to be enormously well qualified for the job. Collins and Murkowski both decried increasingly partisan confirmation fights, which only worsened during the battles over Trump’s three picks. Collins said the process was “broken” and Murkowski called it “corrosive” and “more detached from reality by the year.”

Biden, a veteran of a more bipartisan Senate, said from the day of Breyer’s retirement announcement in January that he wanted support from both parties for his history-making nominee, and he invited Republicans to the White House as he made his decision. It was an attempted reset from Trump’s presidency, when Democrats vociferously opposed the three nominees, and from the end of President Barack Obama’s, when Republicans blocked nominee Merrick Garland from getting a vote.

Once sworn in, Jackson will be the second youngest member of the court after Barrett, 50. She will join a court on which no one is yet 75, the first time that has happened in nearly 30 years.

Jackson’s first term will be marked by cases involving race, both in college admissions and voting rights. She has pledged to sit out the court’s consideration of Harvard’s admissions program since she is a member of its board of overseers. But the court could split off a second case involving a challenge to the University of North Carolina’s admissions process, which might allow her to weigh in on the issue.

Republicans spent the confirmation hearings strongly questioning her sentencing record, including the sentences she handed down in child pornography cases, which they argued were too light. Jackson declared 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.
The GOP questioning in the Judiciary Committee showed the views of many Republicans, though, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said in a floor speech Wednesday that Jackson “never got tough once in this area.”

Democrats criticized the Republicans’ questioning.

“You could try and create a straw man here, but it does not hold,” said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at the committee’s vote earlier this week. The panel deadlocked on the nomination 11-11, but the Senate voted to discharge it from committee and moved ahead with her confirmation.

In an impassioned moment during the hearings last month, Booker, who is Black, told Jackson that he felt emotional watching her testify. He said he saw “my ancestors and yours” in her image.

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

___

Follow the AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/ketanji-brown-jackson

AP

FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., responds to reporters at the Capitol in Wash...
The Associated Press

McCarthy, Trump have ‘positive’ call despite Jan. 6 audio

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy had a positive phone call with then President Donald Trump.
2 months ago
FILE - In this photo  provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian missile cruis...
The Associated Press

Sailors’ families seek answers about Russian ship sinking

Families of Russian sailors aboard the Moskva are seeking information about the ship sinking.
2 months ago
President Joe Biden walks to board Air Force One, Thursday, April 21, 2022, at Andrews Air Force Ba...
The Associated Press

Biden announces heavy artillery, other weapons for Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced another $1,3 billion in military aide for Ukraine.
2 months ago
Ukrainian soldiers walk on a destroyed bridge in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on Wednesday, Apr...
The Associated Press

‘Days or hours left’: Russia tightens the noose in Mariupol

Russian forces tighten their grip in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
2 months ago
A wind-driven wildfire burns at the edge of U.S. 89 on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., on Tuesda...
The Associated Press

Southwest wildfires force evacuations, tighten resources

An Arizona wildfire more than tripled in size on Wednesday as winds pushed flames through a neighborhood near Flagstaff.
2 months ago
Mask mandate...
MICHAEL BALSAMO and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Justice Dept. to appeal order voiding travel mask mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is filing an appeal seeking to overturn a judge’s order that voided the federal mask mandate on planes and trains and in travel hubs, officials said Wednesday. The notice came minutes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked the Justice Department to appeal the decision handed down […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Jackson approved as first Black female Supreme Court justice