Senate Poised to Confirm Jackson to Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
By Newsmax Wires | Thursday, 07 April 2022 07:58 AM
The Senate is expected to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson Thursday, making her the first Black woman on the high court, after three Republican senators said they will support the liberal Jackson, to replace Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires this summer.
The vote is likely to be far from the overwhelming bipartisan confirmations for Breyer and other justices in decades past, given a 50-50 party split in the Senate.
“It will be a joyous day,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as he announced Thursday's vote late Wednesday evening. “Joyous for the Senate, joyous for the Supreme Court, joyous for America.”
Jackson, a 51-year-old federal appeals court judge, would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She would join two other women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, on the liberal side of a 6-3 conservative court. With Justice Amy Coney Barrett sitting at the other end of the bench, four of the nine justices would be women for the first time in history.
After a bruising hearing in which Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogated Jackson on her sentencing record, three GOP senators came out and said they would support her. The statements from Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney 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 the increasingly partisan confirmation process, which Collins called “broken” and Murkowski called “corrosive” and “more detached from reality by the year.”
Biden, a veteran of a more bipartisan Senate, said from the beginning 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 three Supreme Court battles during President Donald Trump’s presidency, when Democrats vociferously opposed the nominees, and from the end of President Barack Obama’s, when Republicans blocked Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting a vote.
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Jackson said her life was shaped by her parents’ experiences with racial segregation and civil rights laws that were enacted a decade before she was born.
With her parents and family sitting behind her, she told the panel that her “path was clearer” than theirs as a Black American. Jackson 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 in addition to her nine years on the federal bench.
“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” Jackson said. “I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”
Once sworn in, Jackson would be the second youngest member of the court after Barrett, 50. She would join a court in 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 issues. 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 hearings interrogating her sentencing record on the federal bench, including the sentences she handed down in child pornography cases, which they argued were too light. Jackson responded that “nothing could be further from the truth” and explaining her reasoning in detail. Democrats said she was in line with other judges in her decisions.
The GOP questioning in the Judiciary committee stuck for 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.
This report contains material from The Associated Press.