Ketanji Brown Jackson will become the first Black woman on the US Supreme Court following a 53 – 47 vote by the Senate. Jackson will replace Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires this summer.
“In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never has a Black woman held the title of ‘Justice,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
For the first time ever, the court will no longer be a majority of white men.
The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Thursday, making her the first-ever Black woman and former public defender to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Jackson, 51, was confirmed in a 53-47 vote. Every Democrat voted for her, along with three Republicans: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and Mitt Romney (Utah). When the vote was over, the Senate chamber erupted with cheers and applause from the balcony.
Jackson’s confirmation seals a promise by President Joe Biden, who vowed as a candidate to pick a Black woman for the Supreme Court.
With Jackson on the court, white men will not be a majority of justices for the first time ever.
Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 108 of 115 justices have been white men.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is the first Hispanic member of the court, has talked about the benefit of diversity on the bench, saying that a “different perspective can permit you to more fully understand the arguments that are before you and help you articulate your position in a way that everyone will understand.”
“In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never — never — has a Black woman held the title of ‘Justice,’” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of Jackson’s vote. “This milestone should have happened generations ago — generations ago — but we are always trotting on a path towards a more perfect union. Nevertheless, America today is taking a giant step towards making our union more perfect.”
In yet another historic moment, Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve in this post, presided over Jackson’s confirmation vote.
Jackson, who has been a federal judge for nearly a decade and comes in with an exceptional resume, endured ridiculous and ugly attacks by Republicans during her confirmation process — despite the fact that most of those GOP senators had previously voted to confirm her one, two or even three previous times to other judgeships or the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Jackson navigated her hearing with grace and composure, with even some of her toughest GOP critics admitting they were impressed by her. She had staunch defenders around the country who were glued to the hearings and even went to the Supreme Court to rally in support.
By the end of Jackson’s two full days of being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the only Black member of the panel, delivered an incredible speech that brought her to tears as he talked about the “joy” that her critics can’t take from him as he watches Jackson make history on the court.
“I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy,” Booker said emphatically.
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