The Senate voted Thursday in the Supreme Court to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson, clearing the way for her to become the first black woman to work in the High Court.
The vote was 53-47, reflecting a growing bias in the recent confirmation of nominees to the bench. Three Republicans – Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney – joined all members of the Democratic Caucus to confirm him.
Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote, a rare event where all members were present in their seats during the roll call. As soon as he announced the final count, the chamber burst into endless applause.
Major broadcast networks provide exclusive reports on the moment, in addition to news networks. There were some dramatic moments, when senators were waiting for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to show up. After about 15 minutes, he finally.
While his confirmation was not really in doubt, with Democrats controlling the Senate, Jackson’s confirmation hearing was surprisingly controversial, as Republican members of the Judiciary Committee questioned the punishment of those convicted of juvenile delinquency, arguing that he delivered. Punishment below the proposed guidelines. But Democrats see their question as unfair and hypocritical, pointing to examples where Republican-nominated judges in federal benches have given similarly lesser sentences.
Jackson, 51, will replace Justice Stephen Brayer, who announced in January that he plans to retire at the end of his court term in late June or early July.
With her presence on the court, the ideological makeup will not change, as she and Breyer are considered left-center in their approach. But as confirmed during the confirmation hearing, Jackson’s promotion to the Supreme Court will mark a turning point in his representation on the Supreme Court. Following Justice Thergood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, she will not only be the first black woman, but also the third African-American in the high court.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the confirmation “a great moment in American history. It’s a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it’s a great moment for America because we’re moving to a more perfect union.”
“He has embodied the arc of our history,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said on the Senate floor before the vote. He said he showed “amazing compassion under pressure” because he referred to not only the answers to the challenging questions but also the attacks “out of the blue.”
During his confirmation hearing, Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) said Jackson was part of a line of Americans who showed love for the country despite facing injustice. He invited the Hidden Figures movie to show that the historic achievements of black women have often been underestimated or even ignored decades later.
“You’ve been insulted here, which shocked me,” he said. “Well, not really. But you are here because of this kind of love. And no one is taking it away from you. “
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) argued that the White House had withheld documents from the U.S. Sentencing Commission since Jackson’s time, as well as probation documents. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said Jackson had “impressive academic and professional qualifications” but could not support him because of the way he approached judicial work.
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said, “The media has spent a lot of their time talking about the historical nature of this nomination and it is indeed historic.” “And Judge Jackson is well educated. She has a wonderful family. He spent time meeting with us. ” However, Blackburn said Jackson was “wrong on the issue. When you look at his sentencing practices, when you look at the humility of his practice … these are all issues that cause us great concern.”