In a momentous occasion in American history, the US Senate on Thursday confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit in the country’s highest court.
The United States Senate took the historic decision by 53-47 votes after three Republican Senators—Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney—voted in her favour along with 50 members of the ruling Democratic Party.
The 100-member Senate is equally split between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting her votes in case of a tie. Currently a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Jackson will replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (83).
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (53) joined President Joe Biden and other White House senior staff in the Roosevelt Room to watch the results of the Senate vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honoured to share this moment with her,” President Biden said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described it as a day of great pride and patriotism for the nation.
“With Judge Jackson’s historic confirmation, our nation takes an important step toward realising our most cherished ideals,” Pelosi said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said she is not only eminently qualified and highly recommended but also makes history as the first Black woman to serve on the country’s highest bench.
“This is a great day for our country and for our democracy, and I know that our judiciary and people will be strengthened by Judge Jackson’s service, as she will bring both a deep and thorough understanding of the law and lived experiences that will bring new perspectives into the Court’s chambers,” he said.
“For over 200 years, the court has heard cases that affect Black women—cases like Plessy v. Ferguson, Shelby County v. Holder, Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation—without the perspective of a Black woman. That changes now,” the Democratic National Committee said.
“Judge Jackson has shown girls—especially girls of colour—how big they can dream and just how profound an impact they can have on our nation. Her story is uniquely American. She represents the best of us and our shared values,” it said.
However, the Republicans decried the confirmation. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement alleging that Biden’s pick Jackson is a radical, activist judge, one who failed to answer simple questions on her record, including leniency for child porn offenders and support of CRT.
“Jackson has proved to be in lockstep with the far left’s political agenda, even refusing to define what a woman is. The RNC will hold Democrats accountable this November for supporting Biden’s radical pick,” she said.
She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and for law school and served on the US Sentencing Commission, the agency that develops federal sentencing policy, before becoming a federal judge in 2013.
Jackson comes with a wealth of experience in varied capacities—as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the US Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice and a federal public defender.