UNITED STATES, Washington DC, April 7, 2022 - Ketanji Brown Jackson, a liberal appeals court judge, was confirmed to the supreme court today, after rancorous Senate approval process, to become the first Black woman to serve as a justice on the high court in its more than 200-year history. Three Republican Senators supported her nomination.
Jackson was confirmed by a 53-47 vote mainly on party lines, but with three Republicans voting in her favor. The vote was 53 to 47, with all Democrats in favor. They were joined by three moderate Republicans, senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who defied deep opposition within their party to support Joe Biden’s nominee.
Her place on the court is seen as a victory for President Joe Biden and his effort to diversify the US' top court. Biden called the confirmation "a historic moment for our nation" in a post on Twitter.
"We've taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her," Biden wrote.
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 honored to share this moment with her. pic.twitter.com/K8SAh25NL5— President Biden (@POTUS) April 7, 2022
During his presidential campaign, Biden has promised to put a Black woman on the Supreme Court.
With Jackson's confirmation, four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court will be women for the first time in US history.
Jackson will be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993, and Clarence Thomas, who currently serves. She will join three other women, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan Amy Coney Barrett.
She will replace Stephen Breyer, 83, the most senior member of the court’s liberal bloc. Breyer, for whom Jackson clerked early in her legal career, said he intends to retire from the court this summer.
At 51, Jackson is young enough to serve on the court for decades. Her seat on the Court will do little to tilt the ideological balance of the highest court in the land, dominated by a 6-3 conservative majority. However, for the first time in the court’s history, white men are in the minority.
The first woman to serve as US Vice President, Kamala Harris, presided over the Senate vote to confirm Jackson as first Black woman to join the supreme court, underscoring the historic nature of her confirmation. Harris called for the final vote on Jackson’s nomination with a smile on her face, and the chamber broke into loud applause when the judge was confirmed.
“Today, we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promises,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said just before the final vote. “This is a great moment for Judge Jackson. But it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.”